One of the things that has struck me, when I have gone on luxury cruise ships, is that most of the passengers look like they are older than the captain — and luxury cruise ships don't have juveniles as captains.  The reason for the elderly clientele is fairly simple: Most people don't reach the point when they can afford to travel on luxury cruise ships until they have worked their way up the income ladder over a long period of years.

The relationship between age and income is not hard to understand. It usually takes years to acquire the skills and experience that high-paying jobs require, or to build up a clientele for those in business or the professions.

But those in the media and in politics who are currently up in arms, denouncing income inequalities, seldom mention age as a factor in those inequalities.

The shrill rhetoric about differences in income proceeds as if they are talking about income inequalities between different classes of people. It would be hard to get the public all worked up over the fact that young people just starting out in their careers are not making nearly as much money as their parents or grandparents make.

The inherent political and economic instability of our present time has been the subject of many books, some of which are marketed as fiction, while others are presented as nonfiction. As is often the case in times of civilizational crisis, the authors of fiction may actually have a more realistic understanding of the actual "facts on the ground" — and the substantial causes of a civilization’s woes — than is presented by the self-described political elite in their purportedly factual writings. Thus, for example, historians may wear themselves out debating the historical accuracy of speeches recorded by Herodotus or Thucydides — what actually matters the most, to the modern reader, is that such speeches present him with an opportunity to reflect upon the Permanent Things.

 

Economist Gary Shilling’s claim that the U.S. economy is on the edge of deflation defies the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ recent announcement that inflation is high and increasing.

The one form of deflation that the Federal Reserve is most concerned about, according to Shilling, is that the general price level will experience sharp declines which will turn into a self-perpetuating downward spiral as buyers delay making purchases in the hopes of paying even lower prices in the future. But there are six other forms of deflation, and five of them “are already in place in the United States,” say Shilling.
 

An elementary school field trip to the Wisconsin State Capitol got out hand when the teacher allowed his fourth-grade students to participate in a protest against embattled Governor Scott Walker, the current target of the state’s public school teachers’ unions. A video of the incident, obtained by a Milwaukee Fox News affiliate, shows students clapping along while protesters sing a modified version of the Woody Guthrie folk song, “This Land Is Your Land,” with a verse that includes the incendiary line, “Scott Walker will never push us out, this house was made for you and me.”

Thanks to a wonderfully patriotic French couple, Jean-Pierre and Cecile Mouraux, Uncle Sam has been saved from multicultural oblivion and is now living and thriving in the very farm house in Mason, New Hampshire, where the original Uncle Sam spent his boyhood. When Cecile and Jean-Pierre, who had been collecting Uncle Sam posters, found out that the house was for sale, they bought it and turned it into the Uncle Sam Museum.

It seems odd that a French couple, who settled in California in 1979, would adopt Uncle Sam, America’s unique icon, representing the spirit and pride of America, and make Americans once again aware of this great symbol’s significance. But they didn’t start out with this idea. They came to America to create their own American dream, which had its incredible ups and downs.

Their first enterprise, in which they invested their savings, was a tour guide company, specializing in providing French and French speaking visitors with a complete tour service. Their goal was to have them discover and love America, especially California and the Bay Area. They did a thriving business until a new Socialist government in France limited what French tourists could spend abroad: $200 a year per person. That killed their business. In a short time they were flat broke.

But they found an immediate solution to the problem of survival: baby-sitting. At first they earned $2.00 an hour. But soon Cecile found a customer who also needed house-cleaning. That enabled Jean-Pierre to contribute his special talents.

Critics of the banking system in the United States declared Saturday, November 5, National Bank Transfer Day — a grassroots movement that encouraged bank customers to switch to credit unions. The notion behind the event was to teach banks a critical lesson. The effort reportedly has had some positive impact on the credit unions; however, overall it proved to have the opposite effect on banks from what the protesters intended.

 
 

After being exposed for their involvement in the Occupy Wall Street protests, officials with the former New York office of ACORN are firing staff, shredding documents, and blaming "disgruntled ex-employees" for leaking information relating to their collaboration with various protests in and around Zuccotti Park. Fox News reported last week that the former ACORN office, now operating as New York Communities for Change (NYCC), coordinated "guerrilla" protest events, hired "door-to-door canvassers" to collect donations, and gathered 100 former ACORN-affiliated employees to attend OWS protests. The organization also recruited homeless people and paid them $10 an hour to protest, sources told Fox News.

The NYCC was formed in late 2009 after ACORN lost congressional funding and much of its private supporters in the wake of a scandal. At the time, critics contended that the move was simply a desperate attempt to rebrand its name and restore funding. But the NYCC is virtually the same entity, as it uses the same offices and operates almost entirely with the same officials and employees.

NYCC Executive Director Jon Kest and his top aides have been working at OWS protests and generating money for the NYCC for various expenses related to the movement, including supplies, staff wages, and travel expenses for ex-ACORN employees. "All the money collected from canvasses is pooled together back at the office, and everything we’ve been working on for the last year is going to the protests, against big banks and to pay people’s salaries — and those people on salary are, of course, being paid to go to the protests every day," a NYCC staff member told Fox.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) claims that the unemployment rate would be 15 percent in the absence of President Barack Obama’s “stimulus” law, but Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Commissioner Keith Hall says he’s seen no study to support Pelosi’s assertion.

Attempting to make the case that “President Obama was a job creator from day one” at her Thursday press briefing, Pelosi said that “if President Obama and the House congressional Democrats had not acted, we would be at 15 percent unemployment,” about 6 percentage points higher than the actual BLS-calculated rate of 9.1 percent, which itself is up 0.9 points since Obama signed the stimulus bill into law in early 2009. (The actual rate, however, is “pushing 25 percent” when those who are underemployed or have ceased seeking employment are included, The New American reported recently.)

In making that statement Pelosi was one-upping herself. During her October 6 press briefing she stated that at the time of the 2010 election the unemployment rate “would’ve been 14.5 percent, not 9.5 percent” — a difference of 5 percentage points — had “the Recovery Act and accompanying federal interventions, whether from the Fed or ‘Cash for Clunkers’ or other initiatives,” not been implemented.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s news conference on November 2 included the admission that the Fed is depending on hope and patience to see if its continuing strategies of Operation Twist and zero interest rates will grow the economy out of recession. In his session with reporters, Bernanke defended Fed actions in the face of increasing criticism from both the left and the right.

Three years after the Federal Reserve's massive and continuing interventions in the financial markets, Bernanke was forced to admit that “recent indicators point to continuing weakness in overall labor market conditions and the unemployment rate remains elevated ... and consequently [the Fed] anticipates that the unemployment rate will decline only gradually.... Moreover, there are significant downside risks to the economic outlook.” He added that “we did underestimate the pace of recovery for some fundamental reasons,” including the continuing declines in the real estate markets and “a certain amount of bad luck.”

Bernanke was forced to reduce further his estimates about the rate of economic growth, now predicting that the U.S. economy will grow at only 1.6 percent to 1.7 percent in 2011, and that 2012 growth will range between 2.5 percent and 2.9 percent, nearly a full percentage point below his previous estimates. He also sees unemployment remaining sticky at between 8.5 percent and 8.7 percent, higher than the 7.8 percent predicted in June. What little growth he has seen in the last month amounts to nothing more than consumers' reaction to the decrease in gasoline prices and Japan’s recovery from the earthquake and tsunami last spring.

The European Commission has requested information on patents from smartphone powerhouses Apple (makers of the immensely popular iPhone) and Samsung. While Apple is not itself a target of the EC’s patent protectors, it has been asked to voluntarily submit critical information regarding its use of 3G technology. Samsung, on the other hand, is being investigated.

"The Commission has sent requests for information to Apple and Samsung concerning the enforcement of standards-essential patents in the mobile telephony sector," read the statement released by the EC, the agency of the European Union tasked with monitoring potential violations of Europe’s antitrust laws. "Such requests for information are standard procedure in antitrust investigations to allow the Commission to establish the relevant facts in a case."

According to a report published in the Wall Street Journal:
 
Standards-essential patents are patents which cover an area that is crucial to compliance with an industry standard, such as 3G or WiFi. Unlike regular patents, they must be licensed on a fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory basis a standard known as Frand. This means infringement can't lead to injunctions on use, or extraordinarily high royalty payments.

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