CHRISTmas Musings.....
The Market Ticker - Commentary on The Capital Markets
Login or register to improve your experience
Main Navigation
Sarah's Resources You Should See
Full-Text Search & Archives
Leverage, the book
Legal Disclaimer

The content on this site is provided without any warranty, express or implied. All opinions expressed on this site are those of the author and may contain errors or omissions. For investment, legal or other professional advice specific to your situation contact a licensed professional in your jurisdiction.


Actions you undertake as a consequence of any analysis, opinion or advertisement on this site are your sole responsibility; author(s) may have positions in securities or firms mentioned and have no duty to disclose same.

The Market Ticker content may be sent unmodified to lawmakers via print or electronic means or excerpted online for non-commercial purposes provided full attribution is given and the original article source is linked to. Please contact Karl Denninger for reprint permission in other media, to republish full articles, or for any commercial use (which includes any site where advertising is displayed.)

Submissions or tips on matters of economic or political interest may be sent "over the transom" to The Editor at any time. To be considered for publication your submission must be complete (NOT a "pitch"; those get you blocked as a spammer), include full and correct contact information and be related to an economic or political matter of the day. All submissions become the property of The Market Ticker.

Considering sending spam? Read this first.

2010-12-25 15:22 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 129 references Ignore this thread
CHRISTmas Musings..... *
Category thumbnail

So as I sit here waiting for my pie crust to chill so it can be rolled out, and prepare to stick my extremist pumpkin pie and extremist turkey breast in the oven, along with all the other fixings that I'm preparing for dinner today, I thought I'd muse a bit on what we should hope for out of our CHRISTmas this year.

Hope, of course, is one of the three things that all organized religion attempts to teach.  The other two are faith and love.  But do we really find them in organized religion - of any stripe? 

There have been many times over my life that I've doubted the existence of God.  But never more than in the last few years, as the trappings of what our nation began with, The Constitution, drawn by a few dozen wise men, guided by provenance, has been systematically shredded into confetti and used for toilet paper.

To be sure this is not exactly a new thing.  Our tripartite system of checks and balances was utterly trashed in days gone by, with two of the most-egregious examples being FDR's attempt to pack the Supreme Court and the introduction and passage of the 17th Amendment, which instantly and permanently eviscerated the 10th Amendment - part of the grand bargain by the colonies for the adoption of The Constitution in the first place.

Indeed, if one looks back through the outrages of Federal Government expansion, you'll find they pretty much began with the 17th Amendment, and the reason is clear: Its passage removed the ability of The States to block federal legislation.

Yet that fundamental construct - a modest and weak federal government and a comparatively strong set of state governments, is exactly what all those in our nation signed up for roughly 235 years ago.  The Constitution is in fact a contract - but like all contracts, it is only as good as the willingness of the parties to enforce it.

Liberals of all stripes talk incessantly about "The living Constitution."  That, of course, is a crock.  The Constitution is a set of black letters arranged on a very-dead tree.  Yet it is not inflexible - the means to amend it to suit the needs of the day is embedded within.  For better or worse that path was allowed, and in some cases, such as the 17th Amendment, I argue we so amended it foolishly, in the heat of political "wedge issue" arguments that in fact date back to the founding of politics itself.  Yet when a liberal wants something he can't have under The Constitution he typically ignores the constraint - such as those who argue that the black letter language of The Second Amendment means that only "The National Guard" has the right to bear arms never mind that The Constitution was drawn when "The National Guard" was comprised of every able-bodied man, keeping and bearing his own arms suitable for military purpose (which most-certainly include rifles and handguns), whether organized into military units or keeping their own homes and land safe from potential - and actual - marauders.  Such a force comprised of all citizens willing to bear their own arms in what we now call The United States in fact dates back more than 370 years, to the 1630s!  In 1903 the "organized" role of the National Guard was subsumed into the Army Reserve force, where it remains.  But the original militia envisioned by the founders did not (of course) disappear - it remains in the form of every citizen willing and able to bear arms in defense of the nation, of the state, and of him or herself.  It's just inconvenient to acknowledge that fact when you've got a particular agenda you want to pursue - like Statist or even Marxist control of the people.  How soon we forget that one of Hitler's first acts was to disarm the population, and that this almost-certainly made possible mass-murder of Jews and dissidents.  In short, The Left keeps some damn strange bedfellows.

Conservatives of all stripes talk incessantly about "The Rule of Law."  That too is a crock, considering that The Rule of Law most-certainly includes all of The Bill of Rights - not just the parts congruent with what they want to do if and when convenient.  The Constitution provides, among other things, that in all matters of controversy that exceed $25 in value, and for all criminal offenses no matter how petty, you have a right to trial by jury.  Try to assert that right for a traffic offense carrying a $200 fine and see how quickly you're ruled against.  The 4th Amendment prohibits searches and seizures without a warrant specifying probable cause and the specific item(s) to be searched for and seized under that probable cause, yet I don't recall the last time I saw an alleged Conservative actually demand that all of the illegal searches and seizures that take place every day in this country cease.  The Constitution also provides for explicit equal protection under the law, yet we have a multitude of Statutes that explicitly violate same, not to mention blatant refusal to prosecute black-letter crimes - even admitted crimes - when the criminal is some powerful institution like a bank.  The Right keeps some damn strange bedfellows too, when one considers the admitted and alleged crimes involved - organized tax fraud, breaking and entering, burglary, theft, money laundering in support of drug running and terrorism - to name just a few.

We have Statutes that are wantonly and willfully violated without recourse every single day.  One such example is The Federal Reserve Act which explicitly mandates price stability.  Those two words are clear and bear no interpretation or argument.  Yet Ben Bernanke and those who have come before him have continued to hold the office while asserting that "2% inflation annualized" meets the mandate.  Really?  In 1776 an 8th grade education was sufficient for anyone to know that over a mere 50 years such a mandate would result in the devaluation of saved capital by 63%, and over 100 years, almost the duration of The Federal Reserve to date, it would result in an 86% devaluation.  Never mind that the actual rate has been closer to 3%, resulting in a devaluation of about 95% over that time. Such is the nature of compound functions.  How this sort of thing comports with the word "stable" is beyond anyone with an IQ larger than their shoe size. 

That we, the people, have and do permit this is proof positive that our shoe size exceeds our intellect.

Then we have so-called "Security Apparatus" such as the TSA.  A pilot was recently "disciplined" for disclosing via videos what I've talked about repeatedly since 2001 - The TSA provides no security of meaning at all.  Proof of this is found in the fact that airport employees simply go through a card-reader door to get to "sterile" areas of the airport and are not searched on the way in - or the way out.  This, of course, leaves a wide-open path for someone to either impersonate a worker (trivial if all you need to do is duplicate or steal his access card) - or bribe him or her.

A baggage screener was arrested in 2008 for stealing more than $200,000 worth of electronics from the pass-through X-ray belt that your carry-ons go through.  She was caught when she allegedly stole a camera belonging to CNN, which they found listed on eBAY for resale.  Oops.  Nor was this the only incident of this type - as of 2008, 465 "officers" have been fired for theft.   Left unsaid, of course, is that if I can steal something from your bag I can put something in it too, and that "something" might be a bomb.

Then there's the fact that just a few days ago a man accidentally carried on a handgun - it went right through the security check at the airport X-ray machine.  It wasn't a little gun either - it was a .40 pistol!  Experts tell us that the "fail" rate to catch weapons carried on approaches and in some cases exceeds 70%.  Are these people sleeping at the monitor?  Again, if that's the "accidental" failure rate how hard is it to bribe one of the men or women watching that X-ray machine at an "appropriate" time if you have nefarious intent? 

We're told that we should "submit" to full-body X-rays which will do nothing about this problem, since a carry-on bag isn't, of course, on your person.  And we continue to accept that the "underwear nut-burner" would have been "caught" with such screening even when 70% of the time guns, which are a hell of a lot easier to spot than a splotch of explosives splayed around one's genitals, are missed by people using the same technology at much higher power levels and resolution with your carry-on bags and despite the fact that the crotch-bomber was walked around security and check-in formalities by someone - therefore, scanner or not, competent operator or not, he would not have been caught by it!

The truth is this: While there are plenty of terrorists nearly all of them are cowards.  Oh sure, they'll try to send a bomb in a toner cartridge from Yemen (exactly how many toner cartridges are manufactured in Yemen, may I ask?) while they sit on the ground chortling at their grand attempt to blow a plane up.  There are terrorists who will pack a van full of what they think are explosives and park it near a Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, intending to kill dozens if not hundreds of people, including children, by remote control using a cell phone while safely beyond the expected blast radius.

There are damn few terrorists, and most of them seem to have an IQ well below room-temperature, who are willing to die in the commission of their intended act.  This appears to be a matter of innate wiring of the human brain, and is a good thing.

But in our mass-hysteria we allow "Big Sis" to tell us that a risk that is 100 times less likely to result in our injury or death than the simple drive to the airport to catch our flight suddenly requires that we forget that the 4th Amendment to The Constitution exists.  Never mind that nearly all of the arrests and prosecutions that the TSA manages to actually commence (despite their bungling success ratio) have nothing whatsoever to do with airline security - the arrestees are, by and large, busted for things such as drugs. 

Isn't it funny how the "Security Theater" game, complete with entirely-inept employees that can't detect a gun 70% of the time in a carry-on bag, thereby rendering them in my opinion unfit to ask "would you like fries with that", manages to get us to give up one of our fundamental rights by waving around a risk that is documented to be 100 times less likely to kill you than the drive to the airport?

Who's the dummy when our collective IQ is so low that we fail to detect and refuse to accede to this obvious and intentional lie?

So as we celebrate CHRISTmas this year, let us pray that should God actually be out there that we not receive material gifts under our tree, or even the love of our fellow man.

No, let us pray that the New Year brings a sense of outrage.  A demand for justice.  A bent to prosecute, not loot.  A demand that each and every of our Constitutional Rights be respected and that those who try to abrogate them be ejected from public service and jailed.  That we become a people unwilling to sit still and twiddle our thumbs (or other bodily parts) while the roughly 6% of our population that is psychotic and malevolent strips the productive people and assets of this nation to the bone, then throws what's left into our own funeral pyre and uses what's left of The Constitution to ignite it.

We have the ability to demand that these acts stop and that those who committed them in the past, throwing people from their homes, blowing serial asset bubbles through lies and obfuscations, stealing through misrepresentation and fraud or making promises that were known to be fundamentally unsound and impossible to keep be identified in public, indicted, prosecuted and imprisoned.

We, the people, can take this nation back.

It is within our power.

We only need the will, and the Grace of God, to do so.