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October 20, 2010

FOOLS' GOLD, Bernanke's Folly?

The Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com

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All contents, unless otherwise indicated are --

Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010 by Jay B. Gaskill

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Forwarded links are welcomed – no permission needed.

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LINK:http://WWW.jaygaskill.com/FoolsGold.html


At this moment,Fed Chair Bernanke is inching closer to “quantitative easing” or monetizing part of the national debt by using his agency's money creation powers to buy US Treasury bonds; this amounts to using an outmoded play-book to avert systemic deflation. He has hesitated for good reasons- the measure may or may not help the economy in the short term, but it certainly risks igniting a dangerous inflationary trend.


This all started, you may recall, when the movers and shakers of our financial system made the mistake of relying on monetized real estate assets as if they were the new gold standard.


We then experienced the comprehensive deflation of a single asset class, an overdue adjustment that could have been contained. Instead, policy makers vainly attempted to reverse the decline – postponing the inevitable adjustment – and worse, they took measures that had the effect of spreading the risk to the rest of the economy. This was like the fatal error of the infamous captain of an ocean-going ship who, when a single water-tight compartment is breached, decided to open all the rest to help the “victim compartment” recover.


This is why our ship is at risk of capsizing.



FOOLS' GOLD

A Cautionary fable for our times


Once upon a time, the kingdoms of the realm were under relentless pressure from their subjects to distribute more and more wealth at lower and lower cost. So the kings and queens all agreed to abandon the gold standard in favor of 'trust currency” issued by their royal banks. At the same time the kings and queens of the realm imposed a suffocating system of taxes, enforced wealth 'sharing', petty regulations and permits on the oppressed commercial and producing classes – these were the only people in the realm who were generating the real wealth. Eventually the system failed because the oppressed commercial and producing classes remained even more oppressed - except for certain under-performing royal favorites. Also, it failed because the realm's 'trust currency' was no longer trusted.


So the kingdoms of the realm secretly conferred: All agreed on a new currency backed by the next 'gold standard'; it was called 'condo-gelt. To be safe, all of the royals agreed to pass edicts in their respective principalities - “The law of supply and demand is hereby repealed”.


A period of tenuous and transient prosperity followed. Then one day, “condo-gelt” was exposed as a dramatically overvalued asset class, worth in the aggregate little more that fools' gold.


Once again the royal currency was no longer trusted and the entire economic system collapsed.


The commercial and productive classes demanded an end to the royal system of punitive taxes, enforced “sharing”, and all of the petty regulations of commerce. Some hotheads even demanded a reversal of the edicts repealing the law of supply and demand. The rebels were disparaged by the royals as “ignorant serfs” and “upstart rabble'.


[][][]


For the royals in this story you can substitute the Keynesian political elites of the West.


For “condo-gelt”, you can substitute the securitized mortgage assets, the bundled real estate instruments and other financial gimmicks that served to conceal the fact that Western governments and the “royalist” financial institutions under their political control were allowed to overextend the world economy on a debt platform held up by fantasy assets.


For those of us who still think that we in the liberal democracies have fully emerged from the royal system of elite privileges and top-down governance, the current crisis is a wakeup-and-smell-the-smoke moment.


For the idealists among us who still think that real wealth can be generated by fiat, or that the equal redistribution of poverty produces better results than the naturally unequal distribution patterns that attend any real wealth creation (not to mention the necessary risks) the current crisis is a brutal teaching moment.


For a longer discussion of our current predicament, download a copy of my article, “The Escape from Delusional Economics”, posted at http://www.jaygaskill.com/DelusionalEconomics.pdf , or read it on-line at http://www.jaygaskill.com/DelusionalEconomics.htm.


....and, yes, there really are positive solutions.


Stay tuned for “Breakout!”, to be posted here soon.


JBG



Jay B Gaskill is a California lawyer who served as the Alameda County Public defender before her left his “life of crime” to devote full time to writing. His profile is posted at www.jaygaskill.com/Profile.pdf .


Books by Jay B Gaskill currently available:


The Lost Souls Coffee Shop

The Stranded Ones


Both books are sold only as e-books by Amazon, Barnes and Noble, ireadiwrite Publishing and 10 other on-line book retailers. To locate a vendor, Google “Jay B Gaskill” and the book’s title.


Watch for the 2011 release of Jay Gaskill's new political thriller, “The Gaia Coup”.

October 09, 2010

THERE GOES JERRY AGAIN

The Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com    
As Posted On
The Out-Lawyer’s Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog1   
All contents, unless otherwise indicated are --
Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010 by Jay B. Gaskill
Permission to publish, distribute or print all or part of this article - except for personal use - is needed.
Forwarded links are welcomed – no permission needed.
For all other permission, or just to chat, please contact Jay B. Gaskill, attorney at law, via e mail at law@jaygaskill.com

 

PRINT VERSION: http://www.jaygaskill.com/ThereGoesJerryAgain.htm

 

There Goes Jerry Again

 

As California goes, so goes the nation.

 

Even readers who are not particularly concerned about who wins the California governor’s race, the issue is important for one overriding reason. 

 

If Jerry Brown wins, there is (in my opinion) a 50-50 chance that he will run for president.  And I see no reason that he will wait past 2012 to do so.

 

SPINNING THE “WHORE” GAFFE

 

Saturday’s (October 8, 2010) New York Times spins the Brown campaign’s ‘Whitman is a “whore” gaffe’ in the context of an almost hagiographic paragraph, reprising Brown’s earlier post-Reagan governorship.

 

“A serious student and literal son of California government — his father, Edmund G. Brown Sr., was governor from 1959 to 1967 — Jerry Brown, now 72, has worked to throw off a past image as the bad boy who dated Linda Ronstadt and earned the sobriquet ‘Governor Moonbeam’ (for his unorthodox political outlook) during his own two terms as governor, from 1975 to 1983.”

 

The phrase “unorthodox political outlook” is a masterpiece of post-historical hagio-gobble.  The nickname was well earned when Governor Jerry proposed spending a windfall 1 billion dollar California surplus on a state space program, rather than saving it or returning it to taxpayers.

 

Another excerpt, just for the flavor...”

 

[Brown is] “...a politician prone to both dreamy idealism and cold pragmatism, capable of being both poetic and profane in the same sentence and often surrounded with starry-eyed do-gooders and the occasional fringe character.”

 

During Jerry Brown’s Oakland mayor period, the “occasional fringe character” was the mayor’s closest confidant and advisor, reputedly an ex pat from the French Foreign Legion, Jacques Barzaghi.  I was close to the scene in those days and the stories I heard about Mr. Barzaghi’s odd omnipresence - chanting from the lotus position even at meetings Mayor Brown attended involving the Port Authority.  Yes, Jerry’s mysterious companion, Jacques Barzaghi defined “fringe”, but the word “occasional” is like calling the thirty year accumulation or barnacles on an old boat a sometime thing.

 

From the San Francisco Chronicle of the day:

 

“Jacques Barzaghi, the controversial longtime aide to Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown, has left the mayor's staff as of Monday, six days after police were summoned to his Oakland home in connection with a domestic disturbance between him and his wife.

 

“For nearly 30 years -- from Brown's days as governor to his three presidential campaigns and his trips to Japan to study Zen Buddhism -- Brown and the French-born Barzaghi had been inseparable.

 

“The aide was known for dressing in black, sporting a shaved head, uttering enigmatic statements in a thick French accent -- and attracting controversy. His duties have reportedly included vetting potential appointees, picking out drapes for Brown's offices, approving his campaign commercials and selecting the mayoral clothes.

 

“One of his quips from Brown's third run for president in 1992 became a favorite quote of the campaign: "We are not disorganized. Our campaign transcends understanding."

 

“Barzaghi, a former French soldier, actor and director, met Brown at a party in Los Angeles in 1971 after he had mistaken Brown for someone else.

 

“His prickly personality made him no shortage of foes at Oakland City Hall.

 

“In 2001, the city of Oakland agreed to pay $50,000 to settle a sexual harassment claim against Barzaghi, whose alleged comments to a female employee led to a three-week suspension.

 

“During an investigation into the complaint, several female employees reportedly complained about Barzaghi, who was ordered to undergo counseling.”

 

Archived, from the San Francisco Chronicle 7-20-2004

 

As the New York Times “whore spin” piece continued –

 

[In the whore gaffe incident]....”the recorded conversation also showed another side of Mr. Brown: a political player with an often brusque approach to political adversity. It was apparently taped in early September when Mr. Brown called a Los Angeles-based police union to ask for its support and left a voice-mail message. After the call is completed, Mr. Brown tries to hang up, but the recording continues. Mr. Brown’s voice rises as he worries aloud that he might lose the group’s endorsement to Ms. Whitman, amid the union’s concerns about his position on public employee pensions.

 

“’Do we want to put an ad out?’ Mr. Brown is heard to say. ‘I’ve been warned if I crack down on pensions, I will be — that they’ll go to Whitman, and that’s where they’ll go because they know Whitman will give ’em, will cut them a deal, but I won’t.’

 

Then an unidentified person speaks, saying: ‘What about saying she’s a whore?’

 

There is a jumble of sound, before Mr. Brown is heard again. ‘Well, I’m going to use that’, he says. ‘It proves you’ve cut a secret deal to protect the pensions.’”

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/09/us/politics/09brown.html?ref=politics

 

Jerry not only tolerated Mr. Barzaghi for thirty years, he reveled in his company.  Let no one doubt that the “whore” remark about Ms. Whitman is just the tip of the cultural iceberg within the Brown campaign and the cadre of staffers that would follow him to Sacramento and beyond. 

 

For my own profile of Jerry Brown, follow the link to my article at -- http://jaygaskill.com/BrownWhitmanNannyAttack.htm .

 

Mr. Brown has already served two full terms as California Governor.  Why has no one raised Mr. Brown’s term limits issue – not as a legal disqualification, but as a simple, spirit of the times concern?

 

I’m just asking....

 

JBG

 

Jay B Gaskill is a California lawyer who served as the Alameda County Public defender before her left his “life of crime” to devote full time to writing.  His profile is posted at www.jaygaskill.com/Profile.pdf .

 

Mr. Gaskill’s latest novel and a short story collection are sold as e-books by Amazon, Barnes and Noble, ireadiwrite Publishing and 10 other on-line book retailers.  To locate a vendor, Google “Jay B Gaskill” books.

 

Watch for Gaskill’s political thriller, THE GAIA COUP, to be released in 2011.

 

 

October 06, 2010

HILLARY REPLACES BIDEN? Truth or Dare

The Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com    
As Posted On
The Out-Lawyer’s Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog1   
The Human Conspiracy Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog3 
All contents, unless otherwise indicated are --
Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010 by Jay B. Gaskill
Permission to publish, distribute or print all or part of this article - except for personal use - is needed.
Forwarded links are welcomed – no permission needed.
For all other permission, or just to chat, please contact Jay B. Gaskill, attorney at law, via e mail at law@jaygaskill.com

 

Print Version -- http://jaygaskill.com/TruthOrDare.htm

 

TRUTH OR DARE:  Hillary on Obama’s 2012 Ticket?

 

Keep one maxim in mind:  All of the big rumors that circulate within the political/media elite are designed serve someone’s agenda. 

 

These rumors are almost never sourced because the agenda would then become too transparent.

 

The latest Kerfuffle began with Bob Woodward telling a CNN reporter that the notion of Hillary replacing Joe Biden on the Obama 2012 ticket was “on the table.”  Here are two representative reports, typical of the internet buzz today:

 

Author/journalist Bob Woodward told CNN's John King that there is a chance that Vice President Biden and Hillary Clinton could trade places in 2012. Woodward claims (accurately) that Obama’s reelection prospects would be stronger with a Clinton on the ticket.  Woodward: “It’s on the table.”

 

But Andrea Mitchell of NBC quotes Hillary praising Vice President Biden and adding that Sec State Clinton has “no reason for doing anything other than just dismissing these stories and moving on.”

 

What is going on here? 

 

Consider that Mr. Woodward’s latest book, “Obama’s Wars”, was not flattering to our new president – except possibly to Mr. Obama’s shrinking but still infatuated cadre of true believers.   For the rest of the country, especially the pro-Hillary primary voters, Mr. Woodward’s revelations validate a growing sense of buyers’ remorse among mainline democrats.   This was especially true of those who were taken with Mrs. Clinton’s famous primary campaign commercial – the one that depicted a telephone ringing in the presidential residence, then posed the question: “Who do you want answering the White House phone at 3 AM?” 

 

The “Replace Biden with Clinton” rumor is an embarrassment to the White House because the very mention of Hillary coming to the president’s rescue admits the failure of Mr. Obama’s leadership.

 

Clearly, someone close to the parties involved floated this to Bob Woodward.  No journalist of Woodward’s experience and standing would have gone with this story without a solid source. 

 

Who was it?  We can rule out any Obama loyalist within the POTUS’ inner circle – this young president is (for now, at least) psychologically incapable of self-criticism. 

 

So we are left with someone connected to the presidential circle, but harboring a grievance, or a Hillary loyalist. 

 

I think it was someone from the Hillary side, close enough to accomplish the leak, far enough to preserve her deniability.

 

Why would Hillary do this?

 

Hillary Clinton’s calculus is so obvious I don’t have to rely on secret sources. 

 

She is relentlessly ambitious and totally persuaded that she would have made a far better president than the junior senator from Illinois.  She is not alone in that assessment.  Obama has screwed things up so badly that many highly placed democratic operatives, the movers, shakers and money raisers, are getting desperate:  They are pining for Mr. Obama’s replacement by another democrat at the earliest practicable moment, and for adult supervision in the White House in the meantime.

 

Barak Obama’s perspective:

 

If this president cannot stage a full leadership and public confidence recovery following the pending voter rejection on November 2 (and please note that Mr. Obama is leaving the country for about two weeks on the heels of the pending electoral debacle), one or more of the following scenarios are very likely to unfold:

 

(a)    Mr. Obama hunkers down as a “recalcitrant duck”, a one-term president;

(b)   He becomes a self-righteous Jimmie Carter, Redux, and runs again;

(c)    Our new president leaves office early, giving some face-saving reason;

(d)   Barak pulls an LBJ, announcing that he will not run again;

(e)    He “recalibrates” before running for a second term, adding Hillary to the ticket.  

 

Hillary Clinton’s perspective:

 

This is a particularly complex problem for an ambitious politician like Hillary Clinton because:

 

  1. In scenarios (b), (c) and (d) above, there will be primary candidates, other than Mr. Obama, for the democratic nomination for president in 2012.
  2. It will be very difficult, both psychologically and politically, for any white democrat to take on a sitting African-American president without suffering potentially catastrophic blowback. 

 

Therefore, it is in Hillary Clinton’s interest to present as a loyal Obama supporter, while allowing surrogates to try to force Mr. Obama not to run.  We saw hints of this during the primary campaign when Hillary’s campaign operatives secretly helped republicans float information about candidate Obama’s questionable association with 60’s radicals and a rabidly “black liberation” pastor. 

 

If Mr. Obama does seek a second term, then it may be in Mrs. Clinton’s interest to join the ticket.  Here is the logic: If Obama loses, Mrs. Clinton then becomes the obvious democratic presidential nominee for the 2016 race.  If Obama wins, Mrs. Clinton is well positioned to pickup the pieces in the event Mr. Obama cannot finish serving his second term (thinking impeachment here) and becomes, no-matter-what, the presumptive nominee to succeed him. 

 

The problem for her is as simple as it is stark:  President Obama may be a loser, toxic to anyone in his inner circle. This assessment explains why so many key administration players have already jumped ship.  The Vice President of a popular and successful president (like Reagan) often can get elected in his/her own right (like Bush, the elder), but the VP of a failed president (like Carter) is usually retired for good (like Mondale). 

So...Mrs. Clinton will probably not join the ticket as a candidate for Vice President in 2012, unless she is reasonably certain that he cannot win.

 

JBG

 

 

Jay B Gaskill is a California lawyer who served as the Alameda County Public defender before her left his “life of crime” to devote full time to writing.  His profile is posted at www.jaygaskill.com/Profile.pdf .
Two FICTION Books by Jay B Gaskill currently available:
The Lost Souls Coffee Shop, an allegory for the human condition. 
The Stranded Ones is a thriller about a potential Armageddon-scale “immigration” problem. 

 

Both books are sold only as e-books by Amazon, Barnes and Noble, ireadiwrite Publishing and 10 other on-line book retailers.

 

 To locate a vendor, Google “Jay B Gaskill” and the book’s title.

 

October 04, 2010

JERRY BROWN & THE NANNY ATTACK ON MEG WHITMAN

The Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com    
As Posted On
The Out-Lawyer’s Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog1   
The Human Conspiracy Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog3 
All contents, unless otherwise indicated are --
Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010 by Jay B. Gaskill
Permission to publish, distribute or print all or part of this article - except for personal use - is needed.
Forwarded links are welcomed.
Contact Jay B. Gaskill, attorney at law, via e mail at law@jaygaskill.com

 

The print version:  http://www.jaygaskill.com/BrownWhitmanNannyAttack.htm

 

 

JERRY BROWN CAMPAIGN’S ‘NANNY ATTACK’ ON MEG WHITMAN
WHAT IT REVEALS & PORTENDS

 

A Jerry Brown Primer

 

Once upon a time, Jerry Brown was the fresh face of California politics.  He was a naïve playboy for whom politics and governance was a family perk that accompanied his father’s trust fund.  He obtained a law degree, but thereafter never really practiced law, at least as any practicing lawyer would recognize that term. 

 

As governor, he opposed Prop 13, California’s popular real estate tax reform measure, because it threatened the cash cow of California politics and governance by ending the endless uptick of residential assessments – one side effect was the eviction of seniors who owned their residences free and clear but couldn’t keep up with taxes.  \

 

Before Prop 13, California real estate tax revenues increased effortlessly and annually, providing a secure allowance for tax supported programs without fiscal discipline.  Pre-Prop 13 real estate tax revenue was the heroin of California state and county government.

 

Jerry Brown ran a landslide race for governor, riding the coattails of his father, Governor Pat Brown, an old-fashioned democrat, a successful lawyer and public servant.  Jerry presented as a frugal and prudent liberal, driving a notoriously used car.  When elected, he refused to live in the governor’s mansion.  

 

When a budget surplus was achieved - made possible by the pre-prop 13 revenue stream - Governor Jerry Brown resisted returning it to the taxpayers or holding it as a rainy-day fund.  Instead he proposed a bold scheme: Let’s spend the billion on a California space program.

 

“Governor Moonbeam” eventually left office with a fiscal deficit and deflated popularity.

 

After many years in the political wilderness, Jerry Brown decided to run for Oakland mayor, a position to which he was readily elected.  I met him during that period.  He was a study in contradictions.  Ideas and new directions bubbled up in his mind and into his clipped and somewhat disjointed narrative in an incessant, uneditable flow.  Follow-up action was frequently sabotaged by his short attention span, uneven staff support and the next new idea. 

 

Jerry retained the New Age, Marxist-Lite rhetoric of the 60’s and 70’s, but notes of prudence and revisionism were creeping into his thinking.  He began to promote law and order (he even read a study on attacking Oakland crime that I had prepared), and argued with some leftist friends that Castro had a better handle on the crime problem in Cuba than the city of Oakland did in the USA.  As mayor, Jerry Brown supported land use changes designed to attract high income ex-pats from Silicon Valley and San Francisco to live in downtown Oakland lofts.  That goal was partially realized. 

 

Any fair assessment of Jerry Brown’s mayoral governance will give him credit for improvement:  By all reasonable accounts, Mayor Brown’s record was better than his predecessor’s, partly because he traded his left-wing credentials and local fame for a “strong mayor” measure that expired with his departure from office.  By all accounts, Mayor Brown’s tenure was vastly superior to that of his successor, that of Congressman Ron Dellums whose befuddled disengagement and obsolete “new left” politics have brought Oakland, California to the brink of ruin.

 

But when Jerry Brown sought his next job, there was a problem.  He aspired to become the state’s top government lawyer, the Attorney General.  A Brown family member of my acquaintance, a real lawyer, once bragged - accurately - that he was the only surviving attorney among Pat Brown’s family.  But the law required that the AG “shall have been admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the state for a period of at least five years immediately preceding his election or appointment to such office.”  It was my assessment - and that of every attorney I knew - that Brown had not met the minimum threshold for the position because he had not maintained active status with the state Bar for the minimum period.  That would have required him to pay the active status dues and to have maintained his Mandatory Continuing Legal Education certification for the five year period.  A hurried make-up program was engineered, strings were pulled and the single most unqualified California AG in memory was elected.

 

Fortunately for the taxpayers and citizens of the state, there was excellent staff support in the AG’s office, and Mr. Brown enjoyed equally good staff support at home, having married a respected corporate lawyer.

The Nanny Back-stab

 

Businesswoman Meg Whitman is the latest in a series of political outsiders who – at significant personal cost – entered California machine politics with the goal of making things better...only to hit a buzz saw.

 

At a critical moment in Ms. Whitman’s campaign, the operatives behind the Jerry Brown campaign staged a “scandal” designed to derail her campaign and fatally damage her standing with Hispanic voters in LA.

 

The incident itself was trivial.  The well-off Whitman family employed a confidential domestic employee at a well-above market wage for nine years.  The employee happened to be a woman with Hispano-Mexican roots.  Taken at face value, her initial hiring was routine.  She was vetted as a lawful worker by a reputable employment agency – social security number, drivers’ license, the whole package, were provided.  Over the years, she benefited from the Whitman family’s trust.

 

That trust was betrayed.  When this employee admitted her fraud, she was dismissed.  Had she been kept on, the Whitman family would have been an accessory to federal crimes.  Had she been let go earlier on a mere suspicion, the Whitman family would have been sued for discrimination by someone like the ever-opportunistic Gloria Allred.  Such are the irrational restraints imposed on employers by the suffocating embrace of political correctness in California.

 

This Whitman “nanny attack” (given its timing and context) would not have taken place without Jerry Brown’s personal approval. 

 

Whatever we can say about this political hit, this much is painfully clear:  In the last stages of Jerry Brown’s career as a professional politician, it reveals his hunger for one more chance and a scary commitment to political correctness...whenever it happened to suit his latest ambition. 

 

If Mr. Brown succeeds with this ploy, even fewer highly talented “outsiders” will try to break into the one-party politburo that has ruled California for the last thirty years.

 

Will the state suffer or benefit from Mr. Brown’s election to a “last hurrah” governorship?  To be fair, that remains an open question. 

 

But if the attack on Ms. Whitman is any indicator, there is just one question for Californians to ask themselves: 

 

What has Jerry Brown become?

 

JBG

 

 

 

Jay B Gaskill is a California lawyer who served as the Alameda County Public defender before her left his “life of crime” to devote full time to writing.  His profile is posted at www.jaygaskill.com/Profile.pdf .
Books by Jay B Gaskill currently available:
The Lost Souls Coffee Shop
The Stranded Ones

 

Both books are sold as e-books by Amazon, Barnes and Noble, ireadiwrite Publishing and 10 other on-line book retailers.  To locate a vendor, Google “Jay B Gaskill” and the book’s title.

 

 

 

JBG

 

 

 

 

 

 


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