Sunday, May 25, 2014

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a US federal holiday wherein the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces are remembered.

This weekend and continuing through Monday Americans will witness countless varied acts of praise for those who have died in America’s wars.  Ball games, parades, pancake breakfasts, even Sunday church service (Laurence Vance, be on alert) – one or more of these will offer opportunities for just about any patriotic American looking for an opportunity to worship.

Apparently, about 1.3 million Americans died in the wars since 1775 (not counting suicides, apparently one every 65 seconds since 1999).  It is worth considering: for what did they die?  Was any of it worth it?

(Note: I will not, in this post, examine the costs and devastation for those victims of American military aggression, more by orders of magnitude – Memorial Day does not recognize those who died on the other side….For the most part, apparently, Americans don’t care.  There is no American holiday for you!)

I will spend the most digits on this war, as even the most principled anti-war critic might consider it an appropriate war.

The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War in the United States, was the successful military rebellion against Great Britain of Thirteen American Colonies…

Certainly, if there was one war worthwhile in the history of the United States, it would have to be this one.  Who on earth could possibly disagree (well, besides King George)?

“Hey, back here…I have a question: Whose independence was won?”

It seems fair to ask if the war was worth it.  What if the war wasn’t fought?  What was this “independence”?  “Independence” for whom?  Was life for the average American different than life for the average Brit twenty years after the war?  One hundred years?  Two hundred years?  Was life for the average American different after the war than it might have been had this war not been fought at all, if the colonies remained part of the empire?  What of the path of Canada or Australia?   Did the American Revolutionary War result in a vastly different life for the average American than it did for the average Canadian or Australian?

I don’t recall reading about a Canadian war for independence.  Let’s check:

Canada Day (French: Fête du Canada) is the national day of Canada, a federal statutory holiday celebrating the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the British North America Act, 1867 (today called the Constitution Act, 1867), which united three colonies into a single country called Canada within the British Empire.

Frequently referred to as "Canada's birthday", particularly in the popular press, the occasion marks the joining of the British North American colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada into a federation of four provinces (the Province of Canada being divided, in the process, into Ontario and Quebec) on July 1, 1867. Canada became a kingdom in its own right on that date, but the British parliament and Cabinet kept limited rights of political control over the new country that were shed by stages over the years until the last vestiges were surrendered in 1982, when the Constitution Act patriated the Canadian constitution.[

Canada Day?  What?  It sounds so…passive.  No war, no blood, no glory?  They just, kind of, decided?  No rockets’ red glare?  What do they do in place of fireworks?  Trade pens?  They call it a “birthday”!  It is so…non-violent.  No war, plus they got the greatest rock band of all time out of the deal.

What about the Aussies?  Hold onto your vegemite sandwich; you won’t believe this.  They don’t even know when they got independence; well not exactly anyway:

We only became independent of Britain on this day [March 3] in 1986.

You might think this statement absurd. Surely Australia has been independent for a lot longer than that? Let me provide a lawyer's answer: yes and no. Yes, Australia as a nation became independent at some unknown date after 1931. By 1931 it had the power to exercise independence but chose not to do so for some time.

An unknown date?  Don’t they care?

They could have done it in 1931, but didn’t?  No bullets, no crossing the Murrumbidgee covered in ice, no Valley Styx, no nothing?  Were they upset that they didn’t get to fight a war?  Did they declare a war, and Britain forgot to attend?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

All Hail Shadow Banking

Another way of looking at the essential and inherent unsoundness of fractional reserve banking is to note a crucial rule of sound financial management—one that is observed everywhere except in the banking business. Namely, that the time structure of the firm’s assets should be no longer than the time structure of its liabilities.

Murray Rothbard, The Mystery of Banking, Chapter VII: Deposit Banking

I begin with this cite of Rothbard.  He points out one of the key destabilizing features of modern banking – the mismatch of the time structure of the banks’ assets and its liabilities.  This mismatch has been allowed to exist and expand due to the monopoly nature of money and credit and the backing of central banks and governments.

Bank liabilities are made up in good measure of short-term instruments – instantly demandable deposits being the shortest-term of all.  Its assets are often of a longer duration – various types of loans and loan commitments of several years’ duration.

The Economist (mouthpiece of mouthpieces) offers an extensive article on this topic, “Shadow and substance” (HT Ed Steer).

As banks retreat in the wake of the financial crisis, “shadow banks” are taking on a growing share of their business, says Edward McBride. Will that make finance safer?

As long as they stay reasonably and relatively unregulated and unbacked by the state, I offer a resounding YES, YES, and YES in reply.

What is meant by the term “shadow bank”?

Shadow banks are easier to define by what they are not than by what they are…. The Financial Stability Board, an international watchdog set up to guard against financial crises, defines shadow banking as “credit intermediation involving entities and activities outside the regular banking system”—in other words, lending by anything other than a bank.

Why am I all gaga about shadow banks?  What does this have to do with Rothbard’s quote?  The tale is told through the experience of a brewery, Hall & Woodhouse brewery, founded in 1777.  In the past, whenever outside capital was required, they turned to a bank for a loan.  The financial calamity of a few years’ back changed all that:

…bank lending to businesses in America is still 6% below its 2008 high. In the euro zone, where it peaked in 2009, it has declined by 11%.  In Britain it has plummeted by almost 30%.

So the brewery went looking for other sources:

They decided they needed more reliable long-term creditors, so they reduced their bank borrowing and turned instead to a shadow bank—a financial firm that is not regulated as a bank but performs many of the same functions (see box overleaf). The one they picked was M&G (the asset-management arm of Prudential, a big insurance firm), which offered them £20m over ten years.

Do you think Prudential, “a big insurance firm,” has liabilities that align better with this loan than might a typical bank?

The Purposefully Receding Empire?

I have speculated before: is it purposeful that the Anglo-American Empire is (or certainly seems to be) in retreat.  Have the elites decided that their creation has demonstrated that it cannot be trusted in world devoid of a substantial enemy?  Is this current dance between Russia and the US one designed to further empower the Anglo Empire, or is it to force a step back by its primary globalizing tool?

I note an interesting blog post (HT Ed Steer), entitled “John Kerry should really try and get some sleep.”

Citing a Kerry statement regarding the events in and around Syria last year:

And if you just look at last year, I ask you to measure what our diplomacy is doing. I know I listen to the sort of political currents that people who try to drag you down by asserting that you’re not doing enough or you didn’t go to war where you should have or whatever it is, but we’re getting things done.

And we’re getting them done in the best traditions of what diplomacy is supposed to do. People are angry because we didn’t strike Syria at one instant. But guess what? Today, 92 percent of all the chemical weapons in Syria are out and being destroyed, and the other 8 percent will get out. That never would have occurred otherwise. (Applause.)

Now, on the surface this is laughable.  Kerry appears to be taking credit for the outcome in Syria, when the (superficial) truth is that Putin is the one that made this happen, seemingly counter to the desires of the US government.

But, what if Kerry is actually correct?  What if this was the intended result of US diplomacy?

Obama was selected by the elite because, among other reasons, he was relatively passive – certainly when compared to Hillary or McCain.  Also because they knew he wouldn’t pay attention to details.

There are a few positions more important for the elite to control than that of Secretary of State in the US.  Are such significant statements made by accident?

Asked in London last September if there anything that Bashar al-Assad could do to avoid air strikes in reprisal for using chemical weapons, Mr Kerry fired a stentorian broadside straight off one of his heavily starched cuffs.

"Sure," he responded mockingly, "He can turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week." And just to make clear that he wasn't serious Mr Kerry added: "But he isn't about to do it, and it can't be done, obviously."

Obviously. Except of course, Mr Assad did do just that, but only after an intervention by Vladimir Putin that saved face for an Obama administration that was in utter disarray and has had rings run around it by the crafty KGB man ever since.

Perhaps Kerry purposefully gaffed, knowing the next steps in the dance. Perhaps it was by design – a coordinated effort – to get the US to lose face.

Other than Ron Paul (who could not be considered because he called the entire edifice of government into question), Obama was the best candidate for president if one wanted to shrink the influence and war-mongering of the US government. 

Kerry, especially if one recalls his courageous stands on foreign policy in his younger days, was an ideal candidate for his position if the same objective is kept in mind.  (Hillary perhaps needed to be thrown a bone in order to get her to back off peacefully when it was clear Obama was the one.)

Perhaps the emperor has gotten too big for his britches.

What a nice thought.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Fraud of Fractional Reserve Banking?

(Note: I have written on this subject before.  It might be worth a read, as the three cases help to paint a picture, I believe.  Some of this will be repetitive, but I will now touch on a few points in this post that I did not address in the previous one.)

Fraud is an interesting concept.  Unlike a violation of property or person – usually a relatively cut-and-dry standard – fraud involves shades of gray: is advertising for make-up or cosmetic surgery fraud?  The Marlboro Man?  Lying?  It can be rather subjective.

Fraud Defined

Deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage.

This is a pretty subjective definition, perhaps difficult to put into practice.

A false representation of a matter of fact—whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of what should have been disclosed—that deceives and is intended to deceive another so that the individual will act upon it to her or his legal injury.

This definition offers more objectivity (a false representation of a matter of fact…that deceives and is intended to deceive).  A somewhat more subjective component is also included (by concealment of what should have been disclosed – how is should decided?). 

The intentional use of deceit, a trick or some dishonest means to deprive another of his/her/its money, property or a legal right.

“Intentional” is again mentioned; also tying it to deprivation of money and property. 

Fraud is a broad term that refers to a variety of offenses involving dishonesty or "fraudulent acts". In essence, fraud is the intentional deception of a person or entity by another made for monetary or personal gain.

Fraud offenses always include some sort of false statement, misrepresentation, or deceitful conduct.

To my understanding, “fraud” remains an open issue in the libertarian community.  Stephan Kinsella offers one libertarian view:

If one has a coherent understanding of the nature of contract (a title-transfer theory along the Evers-Rothbard line) and property rights, then one has to understand fraud as some kind of misrepresentation that vitiates the consent needed for a title transfer to be effective.

More from Kinsella:

…it is clear that for there to be fraud–at least of the type that counts as aggression–there must be some victim who did not give genuine consent for the defrauder to use or take his property.

Fraud Applied

With this as background, I turn to a detailed examination of the key passage from the key (and from my reading, the first) proponent of the concept of fractional-reserve-banking-as-fraud:

The Mystery of Banking, Chapter VII: Deposit Banking

Rothbard begins with a description of the earliest days of deposit banking – where an owner of gold bullion (or coins) would deposit his holdings with a warehouse for safekeeping.  In return, he would receive a receipt for the goods. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Hoppe and Salerno on Fractional Reserve Banking

I get such pushback on this subject; it doesn’t help that I can point to Rothbard and Mises as recognizing that the best regulator of credit creation is the free market.  It doesn’t help when I point to Sennholz, who offers his seven objectives to restore sound money – none of which call for an end to fractional reserve banking. 

When I suggest that such stalwarts find the market to be a perfectly fine regulator, thus precluding any benefit to introducing some third party agent to take over this function…nothing.  When I ask how it is possible that a business agrees to a) take a deposit and hold it, b) not charge a fee for storage, and c) on top, pay interest, all I get is…silence.

When Dr. North bluntly states that the cause of inflation as we have lived it does not have at its root fractional reserve banking, but instead the monopoly protection, nothing.  When I show that Ballvé even writes of lending pure time deposits – going even farther than I suggest – it makes not a dent.

When I ask individuals who I consider to be experts on the topic: who should I read to get a good understanding of the case fractional reserve banking as fraud?  I receive two replies:  Murray Rothbard in the Mystery of Banking, and Jesús Huerta de Soto with his book Money, Bank Credit, and Economic Cycles.  My read of Rothbard lead me to my statement above.  As to de Soto, I offer my thoughts here.

Crickets chirping; the same arguments made in return without addressing any of my assertions or objections – like I didn’t hear them the first time.  Wah, wah, wah – do I sound like I am whining?

OK, how about Hoppe and Salerno.  Through their words, I will try one more time.

I will begin with Hoppe:

Let’s say A deposits 10 ounces of gold with a bank and receives a note (a money substitute) redeemable at par on demand. Based on A’s deposit, then, the bank makes a loan to C of 9 ounces of gold and issues a note to this effect, again redeemable at par on demand.

Should this be permitted? I don’t think so. For there are now two people, A and C, who are the exclusive owner of one and the same quantity of money. A logical impossibility. Or put differently, there are only 10 ounces of gold, but A is given title to 10 ounces and C holds title to 9 ounces. That is, there are more property titles than there is property. Obviously this constitutes fraud, and in all areas except money, courts have also considered such a practice fraud and punished the offenders.

I agree fully with this statement.  In fact, such an agreement is an impossibility – two individuals cannot have the same claim on the same asset at the same time.  A contract that purports this is not possible, as the ends are impossible to achieve.  If this is what is meant by fractional reserve banking, we don’t have to worry about it – as it is not a legal possibility. For the bank in the middle: fraud!

But today’s deposit contract is not this.  Can you imagine if today’s deposit contract stated this, while the banks practiced the opposite?  You don’t think class-action lawyers wouldn’t go after a multi-trillion dollar judgment?  And win?

The Deadly Anarchism

Many people can be against the same thing, yet be for very different things as their preferred solution.  This is why the revolution is successful far more often than the aftermath.  I see examples of this in many on-line discussions and writings. For example: How many people complain about central banking, only to call for some other centralizing or non-market solution?

Charles Burris posted an interview / dialogue at the LRC blog: The Prime Directive. 

In the above edition of the Roundtable, James Corbett, Sibel Edmonds and Peter B. Collins welcome Andrew Gavin Marshall for a discussion of his recent podcast on ‘Anarchy, Socialism and Free Markets.’

This dialogue offers an interesting example of the point made in my opening sentence.  Marshall, apparently often good on power-elite analysis – and describing himself as an anarchist – in this discussion focusses on expanding upon his vision of anarchy.  We see similar causes of the problems in this world (at least superficially); we both use the term “anarchy” to describe at least some portion of our vision for a better world.  Yet, we might as well be speaking in two different languages.  Let me explain.

I listened to about 50 minutes of the 77 minute discussion; I offer my thoughts as these occurred to me while listening.  By the time I get through this, perhaps you will understand why I didn’t listen to the rest.

Marshall began the discussion speaking quite a bit about anarchy.  Yet, even 15 minutes in, it wasn’t completely clear to me just what he meant by the term (I am not terribly familiar with his work) – or maybe I initially just wasn’t taking him at his word (perhaps I was a little fooled by the fact that the interview was posted at LRC, albeit for a different purpose as suggested by Burris).

He spoke of society with no hierarchy of any kind; he referenced Bakunin as one of the great thinkers on anarchy. 

Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin; (30 May [O.S. 18 May] 1814 – 1 July 1876) was a Russian revolutionary anarchist, and founder of collectivist anarchism. He is considered among the most influential figures of anarchism, and one of the principal founders of the "social anarchist" tradition.

Bakunin's socialism was known as "collectivist anarchism", where "socially: it seeks the confirmation of political equality by economic equality. This is not the removal of natural individual differences, but equality in the social rights of every individual from birth; in particular, equal means of subsistence, support, education, and opportunity for every child, boy or girl, until maturity, and equal resources and facilities in adulthood to create his own well-being by his own labor."

Collectivist anarchism advocates the abolition of both the state and private ownership of the means of production. It instead envisions the means of production being owned collectively and controlled and managed by the producers themselves.

Knowing what I know about Bakunin (not a lot, but enough), I might have stopped listening at this point. 

Marshall offered as an example the “anarchy” that helped provide many solutions during disasters like Hurricane Katrina (although even such voluntary efforts required some form of order and hierarchy and private ownership of property).

When asked by Sibel Edmonds for successful longer term examples, Marshall pointed to the Spanish Civil War and the success of the anarchists in organizing life in the area of Barcelona.  I cannot imagine a more revealing answer.

The anarchists during the Spanish Civil War were murderers, as were the communists with whom they were aligned and the fascists against whom they fought.  The anarchists and communists took great pleasure in killing the clergy and nuns, and destroying and looting the physical structures of the church; they hunted and killed anyone who was a business owner, banker, or entrepreneur.  They also had a hierarchy (big surprise, I know).

Income Inequality and Fractional Reserve Banking

Today’s Mises Daily is an interview with Andreas Marquart on the subject of “why others are getting richer at your expense.”  In the interview, Mr. Marquart addresses the subject of income inequality.

AM: First of all, inequality and income inequality are natural phenomena because people are different. They all have different talents and that is a reason for the division of labor…. The key question is: is income inequality the result of the free market and the free decisions of voluntary interacting actors; or is income inequality the result of the expansion of fiat money and the creation of money out of thin air that benefits the privileged few at the expense of many? That is, is it the result of state intervention? If the latter, case we have a problem.

The key question, as offered by Marquart, is a false choice; he offers the choice: is income inequality due to the free market or to fiat money, only subsequently redefined as “state intervention”?  The counter position of the free market is not “fiat money,” but the entire edifice of the crony capitalism system we live under today (“state intervention”), of which monopoly money via central banking is the most significantly distorting feature.  But fiat money, in and of itself, is a phenomenon that has and can occur in a free market as well.

MI: When caused by state intervention, what is the primary source of the problem?

AM: The primary source is fiat money inflation and the artificial increase of the money supply by bank credit.

With this qualifier included – “when caused by state intervention” – I agree fully. 

MI: In your book you contend that “good money” is important for economic prosperity. What is good money and why is this true?

AM: Commodity money is good money because it is free-market money.

This is incorrect.  Free-market money is good money because it is free-market money.  Often, but not always, the market has chosen a commodity-backed money to serve its purpose.  However, I find no reason offered in free-market theory to suggest that a directed money can be more stable than a market-derived money, honed by the competition of the market.

The only way to achieve and maintain 100%-backed commodity money is to order it and maintain it via force.  There is no other way, when the subject is understood within the framework of my above-referenced post.  How can this be more “good” than money derived by and enforced via free-market mechanisms?  Does central planning work for money and credit?

AM: We have good money when the government has nothing to do with the monetary system and people themselves can decide what money they want to use spontaneously and without any coercion from the state.

Again, we agree completely.  The disagreement comes in the proper extension of this statement.

Whatever the faults of a truly free market in money and credit, one thing is clear – and both Mises and Rothbard concur: a free-market offers the best regulation of inflation. 

I find no reason to invent rules when the market is perfectly capable of providing regulation.  Let the market police credit expansion, and the soundest money of all will result – a free-market derived system for money and credit.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Roosevelt’s BFF “Uncle Joe,” Part II

When I think of special relationships I think about family, close friends, good business acquaintances, etc.  In the murderous art of statecraft (as it is practiced today), we are told that the United States has a special relationship with Great Britain and Israel (I have no idea how they will all fit in my dining room next Thanksgiving).

There was another special relationship, of a sort, between Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin.  I have written about this relationship once before, in one of my many posts while reviewing the book “Freedom Betrayed,” by Herbert Hoover (I highly recommend the book if you have not read it).

I will revisit this special relationship via a book written by Robert Nisbet, “Roosevelt and Stalin: The Failed Courtship.”  This book was recommended to me by one of the most knowledgeable men I know – a real expert in several fields including history.  When someone like this suggests that I read a book, well…it would be pretty stupid to ignore the advice.

It is interesting that, simultaneously, there were significant increases in the totalitarian nature of governments throughout the world – this, especially true in the 1930s.  Call them socialists, communists, fascists, whatever.  The United States under FDR, Germany under Hitler, Italy under Mussolini, the USSR under Stalin.  One can also point to such leanings in Japan and France; even Spain went through a civil war fought (basically) between supporters of two different totalitarian ideologies.

Was it coincidence?  A result of the Great War?  The depression?  Far beyond the scope of this post to explore.  However, suffice it to say, it was.  Viewed in this light, one might consider Roosevelt no different than the rest.  Garet Garrett certainly saw this.

There are certain aspects of the book that stretch me outside of the narrative that I am developing in my own mind about Roosevelt, Stalin, Churchill, and the general events preceding and through this time.  I will address these as they arise throughout my reviews (I don’t know how many posts I will write on this, certainly more than one), however, to summarize:

·        Roosevelt is presented as idealistic toward Stalin, not purposeful.  I tend to see in Roosevelt both – more purposeful, perhaps.
·        Churchill is presented as an unwilling accomplice (due to Churchill’s desires to save Britain) in his favorable treatment of Stalin, always seeing clearly Stalin’s larger goals.  Yet, if Churchill could see this (and be concerned by it), why not Roosevelt?

Let’s see how this plays out. 

Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins recalls a conversation she had with FDR in which he was plainly impressed by the Russians.  Perkins mentioned this view that the Russian people “desire to do the Holy Will.”

To which the president replied: “You know, there may be something in that.  It would explain there almost mystical devotion to this idea which they have developed of the Communist society.  They all seem really to want to do what is good for their society instead of wanting to do for themselves.  We take care of ourselves and think about the welfare of society afterward.” (P. 4)

This conversation between Perkins and Roosevelt is attributed to a time “just after his [FDR’s] return from a meeting with the Soviet leaders.”  Roosevelt’s first meeting with Stalin was at Teheran at the end of 1943.  There is no prior listing of a meeting between Roosevelt and any other Soviet leader.

By 1943, what had Stalin done to deserve such praise from Roosevelt – the model of altruistic (and even “Holy”) society, it would seem?  There was the Great Purge, various population transfers and deportations, the collectivization of agriculture – contributing to the great famine and the Ukrainian Genocide.  Just during the 1930s, estimates range from 8.5 million to 20 million deaths under Stalin in the Soviet Union.  These are all before the cover of war.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


"Bread and circuses" (or bread and games) (from Latin: panem et circenses) is metonymic for a superficial means of appeasement. In the case of politics, the phrase is used to describe the creation of public approval, not through exemplary or excellent public service or public policy, but through diversion; distraction; or the mere satisfaction of the immediate, shallow requirements of a populace, as an offered "palliative." Juvenal decried it as a simplistic motivation of common people.

I am struck by the recent glaring example of circuses used as a means to distract from anything important within the United States: for the important, I offer Russia and the Ukraine, with the US playing an obviously antagonistic role; for the circuses, I offer two different recent sports stories: Donald Sterling and Michael Sam.

…fans have an expertise in sports that’s unparalleled in any other area that fans interact with, other than their regular job. When you compare how much fans know about their members in Congress, or their state legislature, or corporate crimes, there’s no comparison compared to what they know about the game.

I suspect all readers of this post are quite familiar with the backstory occurring in Eastern Europe.  However, as I know I have many visitors from places other than the fifty states, I offer a brief description of the two sports stories:

Donald Sterling: On April 25, 2014, TMZ Sports released a recording of a conversation between Sterling and a female friend, V. Stiviano. In the recording from September 2013, a man confirmed to be Sterling was irritated over a photo Stiviano had posted on Instagram, in which she posed with Basketball Hall of Fame player Magic Johnson. Sterling told Stiviano: "It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you're associating with black people", and, "You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want", but "the little I ask you is ... not to bring them to my games."

On April 29, 2014, NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced that Sterling had been banned from the league for life and fined $2.5 million, the maximum fine allowed by the NBA constitution. Silver stripped Sterling of virtually all of his authority over the Clippers, and banned him from entering any Clippers facility. He was also banned from attending any NBA games. The punishment was one of the most severe ever imposed on a professional sports owner. Moreover, Silver stated that he would move to force Sterling to sell the team, based on a willful violation of the rules….

There is so much I could write about the Donald Sterling incident; however most of it has nothing to do with the subjects pertinent for this blog.  Let’s just say I am awaiting the exposure of the backstory on this; if anyone has the money and demeanor to dig it up, it is Sterling.  I only hope he lives long enough.

Michael Sam: Michael Alan Sam, Jr. (born January 7, 1990) is an American football defensive end for the St. Louis Rams of the National Football League (NFL). He attended the University of Missouri, where he played college football for the Missouri Tigers football team for four years.

After completing his college football career, Sam publicly came out as gay. He was selected by St. Louis in the seventh round, with the 249th overall pick, of the 2014 NFL Draft, becoming the first publicly gay player to be drafted in the league. If he plays in the league, he will also become the first active NFL player to have publicly come out.

Apparently Sam is interested in doing much more than focusing on his football prospects; it was recently announced that he will cooperate in a documentary of his training camp endeavors with Oprah Winfrey.

So I tried a simple check.  I did a search on the four topics – the one that could lead to a cataclysmic war, and the three that matter not a whit to anyone’s personal well-being beyond that of the named individual and those few close to him. 

I narrowed the search parameters: last 30 days, in English, in the United States.  The number of items?

Russia and the Ukraine: 142 million
Donald Sterling: 202 million
Michael Sam: 167 million

I tried the Russia / Ukraine search again, however this time excluding any of the following terms: cnn cnbc msnbc bbc fox abc nbc cbs.  I figured this would remove the bulk of US government puff-pieces on the subject, without removing any actual analysis based on facts. 

For this, I returned 84 million hits.

I guess I have nothing really to add.  I was just curious: a perfect opportunity for juxtaposition was offered, and I thought I would share the results.