Rhetoric

Grandpa on How to Filter Out the Noise

“Rhetoric is the art of ruling the minds of men.” – Plato 

 My dictionary defines rhetoric as, “Language with a persuasive or impressive effect, but often lacking sincerity or meaningful content.” This is something to be mindful of during this time of election fever.

Some decades ago, I read a small paperback book that had a profound influence on how I saw things in life and my response to rhetoric. Entitled, Straight and Crooked Thinking, by Robert H. Thouless, this book put forward the concept that people are often swayed more by the emotional content of speech than its logical content.

Straight and Crooked thinking Book CoverFor example, someone who does not change his mind might be called steadfast by his friends, or pigheaded by his opponents. Someone who does change his mind easily could be called unbiased by some and fickle by others.

While speech without emotional content is boring, we should not be fooled by emotionally charged words, but instead extract the essence of what is being said. Add to that an alertness for generalities and distortion of facts and many times you will conclude that very little of substance has been said.

Had the Germans followed this advice in the 1930s, when listening to Adolf Hitler, there probably would not have been a World War II.

I highly recommend this little book. It is a good antidote against mob mentality. It has been out of print for some time, but is now again available. You can order it from Amazon here: Straight & Crooked Thinking

The Tooth Fairy

Grandma Thunder Explains how our Money is Created

I remember the excitement of losing my first tooth as a child. My hardworking teacher- father made a big thing about it. He used this experience to teach me about money. I was to give up my shining, white tooth to a trustworthy tooth fairy who would give me something valuable.

Old lady with cat in rain It was to be a simple transaction.  I give tooth. Fairy gives coin or note. As my father explained it to me – it was all about a fair exchange.

Many of us believe the federal government (the tooth fairy) will take care of us from the day we are born until the day we die.

We forget that we have to give something to the community first.  Why we ask, is the government not magical, can it not print all the money it wants? If you think like this I have some bad news for you.

As a writer I began to look into our financial system because something didn’t add up (except the debt which was getting bigger and bigger)  Ask yourself, if the government could print all the money it wanted, why not just wipe out the national debt? The truth is that neither the Government (nor you nor me) has yet gained effective control over our corrupt and broken-down financial system or the National Debt and most of all not the Trans-National-Banks who do control the system.

You see it works like this: Government does create a billion dollars worth of treasury bills (debt) and Government bows down low to propitiate the Federal Reserve. It is the Federal Reserve (a privately owned corporation owned by the TNCs) who creates the billion dollars out of thin air, takes our Treasury Bonds and voila, now America has a national debt!  That’s right. Go back and read that paragraph again. You are not wrong. It is crazy!

What is even more crazy is that when the Federal Bank creates the debt, it forgets to also at the same time create the interest that has to be paid on the debt. Who is it who gets all the money? Maybe it is the Trans-National- Banks or maybe it was just designed that way. More historic data at: Creature from Jekyll Island.

You see, friend,  we are fighting for our liberty, while in the investment world they are fighting to keep an unfair advantage. In order to pay the interest on the national debt America has to take out another loan and on and on. The debt created is always greater than the money that is bank-created.

And here’s the rub. It is we the people that are expected to work hard, pay high taxes and pay down this interest while we are fed but the crumbs by our masters.

A debt-based financial system is a scam; it is also unsustainable, because it creates debt bubbles that are now popping.

There is a solution:

First: read the free book, Magic Money, written as an entertaining story, but with the purpose to teach financial basics. I am my father’s teaching daughter!

Second: The house recently passed an “Audit the Fed” bill by an overwhelming majority with surprising support form both parties. NOTE WELL Since its inception in 1913 there has never been an audit of the FED.

Fed Chairperson, Bernanke says that such an audit would “be a nightmare” and Democratic Senator Harry Reid promises that the bill will never go through. Please, please contact your senator and tell them you really, really want the bill to be passed by the Senate.

 Quote for the Day

Any banker will tell you that there is a fool in every trade, which is why you must always know who the fool is, because if you don’t, the fool is probably you.

JL Banking Blog   

Uncle Sam Broke

Griping Grandpa asks how many pies the Federal Government has its fingers in?

Griping grandpa

We read in the news that Moody’s bond-rating agency is threatening to downgrade the U.S. Government Debt rating.  Are they right? Do we have a situation?

In the heat of the election fever, tax cuts are being mentioned. As much as I favor paying less, anyone who believes that tax cuts will benefit this country has a screw loose. For a country that has to scramble to pay the interest on what it owes, tax cuts will be suicidal. Proposing them is merely a ploy to try and get more votes.

Tax the rich to help the poor? Yeah, right! Make everybody poor. That’s robbing Peter to pay Paul. My name is Peter, so I don’t go support that tactic either.

Uncle Sam Broke

No, cutting taxes is not the answer to our economic woes. Then what is? Cutting spending is.

The federal government has its fingers into far too many pies. The US has 50 states, each of which has its own government. So all the Federal Government has to do is make sure that the various states get along and abide by the Constitution, in addition to maintaining friendly relations with the rest of the world and protecting the nation against foreign invaders.

So, how to cut federal spending? We could start by closing down most federal agencies. You see, there are producers and consumers. Producers create the wealth of a nation, while consumers consume it. Bureaucrats are consumers, so fewer is better.

Abolish the IRS for starters. A small federal government does not need much money. Its needs can be covered by a federal consumption tax, to be administered by the states. Most states already do this in the form of sales tax. No big deal. And it’s fair (insofar as any tax can be called fair) because the amount of tax you pay depends only on how much you consume. It hits the big spenders and smiles upon the frugal. (Of course this requires a constitutional amendment that defines the maximum tax rate and forbids any additional taxes.)

Other spending cuts? The military. We already spend more on this per capita than any other nation, and with no real enemies. It doesn’t make sense, other than for bullying other countries. Of course our soldiers and veterans should be well cared for, but do we really need military bases in 300 countries? Or pointless wars?

Foreign aid. Let’s stop trying to solve other people’s problems by giving them money we don’t have.

The Utopia I envisage is one where we can all do our jobs without harassment and where we are free to create a better life for ourselves and our families. 

Quote of the Day

It’s not tyranny we desire; it’s a just, limited, federal government.” 

Alexander Hamilton 

 

 

Ayn Rand


Has Ayn Rand been good for America?

lady in rain

Grandma Thunder 

We now have a Republican Vice President-elect who is into Ayn Rand.
Once we had a Federal Reserve Chairman who was also (heavily) into Ayn Rand. Greenspan worked with Clinton and they took away Glass Steagall, which is all that separated investment banking from consumer banking and our great country from an economic melt-down.  Greenspan was again in power under H.W. Bush, blamed for our mountain of debt, and banks too big to fail.

Is there a connection bewtween Greenspan’s Ayn Rand philosophy and his actions?

Once I went to University,  a beautiful campus in Southern Africa perched on a high hill overlooking th Durban Bay.  Flowering shrubs tumbled down the hill until reaching the water and the  colored sail boats, all with their spectacular balloon sails bending to the wind – a truly beautiful place.

sailboats in wind

Durban Bay

I was studying psychology. The little lecturer had shaky hands and a wobbly voice.  A primary tenet of Psychology is that the world and others are stronger than we, and we needed to adapt and to be conditioned just like the rats we were studying.

Did Ayn Rand change me, yes she did.  I quit psychology at the end of the year and graduated after four years in Education, Communications and Theater.

As I read at the back of that lecture hall, I discovered that Ayn saw ‘Man’ as a noble creature responsible for the world around him and I liked that idea better than what I was being taught.  Her ‘Man’ was creative and able and honorable and deserving. He could change the world and make it work better for him and for others.

Much later as a small business owner and crucified by bureaucratic regulations and taxes, it was because I had read Ayn Rand, that I knew I did not owe the world a living.  I would work (like Atlas who shrugged) to shed my shackles.  If I worked hard and staid legal I could keep the fruits of my labor. I saw (still see) no need to carry passengers.  I do not owe the world my ability. I resent that others want to tax me for their medical bills. man holding up the world

Atlas Shrugged

 Let’s bring this full circle.

What Ayn Rand means by Capitalism is the full, pure uncontrolled and unregulated Laissez Faire capitalism,  When Clinton (as advised possibly by Greenspan) set the economy free it zinged and we all profited from the increased speed of the unregulated distribution of goods and services. They made a few mistakes: They failed to differentiate between correct regulation and shackles.

Since Ayn passed in the early eighties, there has been a whole new digital revolution and we live in a global world wrought with inequalities. We remain a collection of nations with our trade and financial transactions flowing freely across state borders.  The regulations and use of dictatorial force in other nations (like China keeping its currency value low) adversely affects free competition and gives them an advantage. Our Government needs to protect us from such.

One day we will be able to put in a free, market economy across the world but we are a long way from that right now. So gentle regulations to protect America are indicated.until we are able to craft a constitutionally free world government.  My estimation bringing real freedom to the world will take all of the current century. We need a good government in America to hold the line lest all of our wealth trickles out and goes to the rest of the world or world dictatorship is ushered in. Good idea to also shed the burdens foisted on us. Why do we pay out so much in foreign aid when we are hurting? Why all the military bases across the planet?

Free market politicians (men of good will)  need to also look at their responsibility to regulate the banking and pharmaceutical sectors, for neither is productive. First step bring in transparency. I see that as a valid function of government.

So when Greenspan and Clinton and G.W. Bush attempted Laissez Faire Capitalism there were some good effects for us but you have to see and know that it also bombed. We can trace the sub prime catastrophe directly to a failure to know when and how to regulate and when not to. In the same way we can trace the ‘banks too big to fail’ back to permitting a collapse of consumer and investment banking in upon each other, to the very same government malaise and it all could come back to  Ayn Rand thinking.

So I really hope that Paul Ryan gets to read my blog.

If you decide to read her, know that Ayn Rand wrote for the story and you will have a good time.  I loved her characters and I loved her plots  I sat there in the last row of the psychology class oblivious to the lessons going on around me.  I would read from dawn to way pastmidnight. Like Greenspan I was hooked.  Like Greenspan I am grateful she came into my life for I could have ended up teaching psychology and having my students craft paper airplanes and shoot them down on me instead of on to a shaky man with his little wobbly voice who was hooked on rats and wanted me to adjust to my environment.  I chose to stand tall and to help to change the world. it is decision we all should make and reading Ayn rand can help.

So here is a message for Paul Ryan, (if you get to speak to him) and also for Rand Paul; please know that it is now a whole new electronic, digital world and that needs to be factored into the Ayn Rand equation.

 Quote of the Week

“Free Competition Enforced by Law”
A grotesque contradiction in terms.Ayn Rand