Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Dropping C-Notes

The Federal Reserve creates money through lending, not through printing. Paper currency is printed in response to demand for the currency. The Feds claim that 90% of printed bills are to replace old bills that have worn thin.

The Currency Order Report is still quite interesting.

The Fed positions the twenty dollar bill as the primary bill for day to day transactions. My local ATM spits out $20s. The currency report, however, shows that the Feds are printing up almost as many hundred dollar bills as twenties. In 2013, they printed more hundred dollar bills than twenties!

The 2016 report shows the feds requested 2,425,600,000 ones, 1,939,200,000 twenties and 1,516,800,000 hundreds.

I contend that, since 1s and 20s are used in common person-to-person transactions, they wear out faster; so the number of new 100s is greater than the number of new 20s.

Hundreds tend to be used in bank to bank transactions or are sent abroad.

An inflationary note. A hundred dollar bill in 2016 has the same buying power as a dollar bill had a hundred years ago; So, I decided to start using hundreds. I've discovered that merchants (especially small independent shops) like to get hundreds are they are easier to count than twenties.

One night in a midrange hotel in Salt Lake costs about $100. A hundred dollar bill provides about one day's expense if an emergency occurred.

On the down note, In recent decades, the police have increased the practice of civil forfeiture (see policing for profits). Police consider people carrying c-notes to automatically be guilty crimes. For example, if you sold a car for cash and the police stop you, they will confiscate your money until you can prove, beyond reasonable doubt; that the money came from selling a car. (Apparently, proving that you are going to buy a car is difficult.)

The term "criminalization of cash" refers to laws and government policies designed to discourage cash transactions. For example, governments have stopped printing large denomination bills. They confiscate currency and restrict cash transactions over a given limit.

Anyway, as the c-spot is the new dollar, I figured that people should start using c-notes more often. I figure that using c-notes in regular transactions might help discourage this trend.

Regardless of what you chose to do, the annual currency reports from the Federal Reserve provide insight into the ways that people respond to inflation. Most of the new hundred dollar bills are traveling abroad, but, as inflation continues, I suspect that we will see people in the states start using more hundreds than twenties in the near future.


Saturday, May 07, 2016

The Down and Dirty on Pulling Weeds

Counter-culturalists have declared the first Saturday in May is Naked Gardening Day; So, I decided to celebrate the event by pulling a weed before getting dressed this morning.

The "weed" I selected was this little tree that was growing along the foundation of a small shed. It needs pulling as it would do damage to a cinder block shed.

I probably did it wrong. WNGD is a counter-culture event. The founders are less interested in gardening, and probably want participants in WNGD to prance around nekkid in front of others ... especially those are disturbed by such actions.

The promoters of social nudity have compelling literature on "body freedom" and they love to insult people who are uncomfortable with public nudity.

People engaged in the counter-culture seem to be more compelled by a desire to shock others than a need to be nude. So, I have to reject the idea that nudity is some sort of fundamental freedom. Freedom is about what people do for themselves. I do not have freedoms to do things to others.

Personally, I have no problem with skinny dipping or public showers, but I do have a problem with people behaving crudely towards others. While the nudist movement might start with high sounding ideals, the movement is ultimately undermined by people being shocking and crude.

It would be fun to do a nude trail clean up or spurge purge. But the white sap of the spurge is toxic. I would want to wear gloves ... defeating the whole purpose of WNGD. So, I participated in the event by pulling a plant and posting its picture online. Now, I am off to do more productive things.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Cattle Chutes and Temple Ceilings

My family moved into Salt Lake in 1975. During that time, I've attended two LDS Wedding Receptions. The LDS Church claims that over half the people are LDS. I've polled people I know. Many have never been invited to LDS wedding receptions at all.

The first ceremony involved the boss's daughter. The boss was a political appointee who was unqualified for his position. He nearly ran the enterprise into the ground. The boss had had important connections in the Church which, in the long run, means a lot more for a Utah based company than competency.

Attending the boss's daughter's wedding was pretty much mandatory.

The event itself was rather humiliating. Mormon members of the firm were part of the ceremony. The gentiles were lined up herded through a cattle chute divider where we each received a condescending gesture from the bride and groom before being sent on our merry way to salvage the rest of the day.

Last week's event was a little better. The grand parents of the bride were gentiles. The couple had thing called a "ring ceremony" followed by a more traditional reception.

A "ring ceremony" is a re-enactment of the wedding done for the public.

Apparently, non-Mormons are not allowed to witness the actual event which is called a "sealing."

Legend tells that secret words and secret names are given during the sealing.

During the "ring ceremony" the bride and groom appeared at a reception center and were clearly play acting as they exchanged rings for a second time. There was a big joke about how the groom had already kissed the bride an hour earlier and was getting good at it.

A Mormon bishop read a passage from The Bible. This makes sense as a ring ceremony is usually performed for people are are Christian, but not LDS.

Watching a re-enactment of a wedding isn't really that much fun. IMHO, the fun part of a wedding ceremony is that a couple enters the room as two singles, then make a formal commitment in front of the community.

I believe that marriage is an important foundation of our society. I would even venture that public wedding ceremonies are important for a community as a public ceremony helps strengthen the commitment to matrimony.

Conversely, I think the practice of having "sealings" take place in secret is a negative tradition that leads to a fractured society.

The LDS practice of secret sealings was started by Joseph Smith. In 2014 the LDS Church finally openly admitted that Joseph Smith had "secretly" to over 40 women. The acknowledged list included fourteen-year-old girls and the wives of Smith's followers. (The list may be longer than 40).

I imagine that LDS couples believe that a secret sealing at a temple makes a marriage extra special.

I admire all couples who are dedicated to making their marriages work.

As an outsider looking in. I see a sealing as a creepy ritual that traces back to acts by Joseph Smith that could be described as adultery and child molestation.

I believe the true merits of a marriage is found in the dedication the couple give to their relation. Our society can affect through education and counseling and respect for the institution of marriage.

In this regard, I think the LDS practice of secret sealings in the Temple is negative. 

I've known girls who, in their young teens, were sealed to old men. These child brides had horrible stories of abuse that was hidden from view by the secret act of secret sealings.

Well, to end this blog post. I simply need to say that I usually enjoy attending weddings. Watching a "ring ceremony" by an LDS couple made me feel queasy.

I started the post by feeling bad that, in the 40 years I've lived in Utah, I've only been invited to two LDS Wedding Receptions. The two events that I did attend made me feel queasy; So, maybe the Mormon practice of excluding others from their ceremonies is needed.

This video by BrighamYoungSpeaks has a dramatic reading of Brigham Young sermons in which the second president of the LDS Church boasted that he will have millions of wives and untold power in the Celestial Kingdom. This is the way that Mormonism looks like to people standing on the outside: