Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

I rarely do these end of the year posts. I think... Anyway I don't seem to remember making any sort of resolution to write them...

And to get the morbid stuff out of the way...

And no, Rush Limbaugh is not dead. And no I don't wish him dead, I just wish him to be cured of his sociopathy, or to drop off the air. That would be enough. and on the air apology for all the damage he's done to our Democracy would a nice touch. i'm find it hard to feel pity for him as Rush Limbaugh. As a human being, it's slightly easier.

We did lose a few folks in 2009.

Out of the celebrity pool, I'll be missing the following more than some.

Les Paul
Dom DeLouise
Koko Taylor
David Carradine
Bea Arthur
and Karl Malden

Robert MacNamara, may you rot in hell. (Not Kidding)...


And now I'd like to list all of the really cool and inspiring people born this year.... Oh wait, that list may have to wait until they are older! Doh!


And I guess i could make some predictions. But most seem too easy.

1. Stuff won't getting better.
2. Commercial defaults will hit the news.
3. More bailouts.
4. The Healthcare Plan will have members of both parties protesting.
5. Nancy Pelosi will chastise the liberals in her party.
6. Republicans will begin replacing democrats in House and Senate seats.
7. More bank failures.
8. The unemployment rate will increase.
9. The rate of increase in the national deficit will increase. (Second derivative... Pun intended)
10. The White House will again announce success in averting economic disaster.
11. The media will continue every month, to brag that stuff is getting better.
12. I'll have a bonanza of fresh eggs, beans, squash, grapes, cucumbers, artichokes, etc..., etc..., etc...

Don't let the Doom and Gloom crowd get you down though!

Whenever life gets you down Mrs. Brown
And things seem hard or tough
And people are stupid, obnoxious or daft.
And you feel you've had quite enough...

Get some gardening supplies out and start playing in the dirt. You'll feel all better.

And apologies to Monty Python...

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cowboy Santa Program Faces Empty Shelves

Fewer Donations, Lead Recalls Prompts Call For Help

Video Here

On this morning's news, a woman on a fixed income and disability was so moved, that she donated $50 to the program.

And let this be a lesson folks. The rich stay rich, because they don't let go of their money. If Jerry Jones and the players contributed just a smidgeon of their income to the program that bears their name, this crisis would not be occurring.

Ultimately, greed is our highest virtue. Whether you're a banker or a role model, you can teach our kids what it's all about. When you get yours, don't give back.

Oh, but if you're a redneck...

Larry The Cable Guy Donates Money for Alexis Verzal Rehab Center

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones

WASHINGTON -- Militants in Iraq have used $26 off-the-shelf software to intercept live video feeds from U.S. Predator drones, potentially providing them with information they need to evade or monitor U.S. military operations.

Senior defense and intelligence officials said Iranian-backed insurgents intercepted the video feeds by taking advantage of an unprotected communications link in some of the remotely flown planes' systems. Shiite fighters in Iraq used software programs such as SkyGrabber -- available for as little as $25.95 on the Internet -- to regularly capture drone video feeds, according to a person familiar with reports on the matter.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Federal Welfare Recipient Warren Buffet Says, Don't Worry Be Happy

Timeless and Time-Tested Lessons From Warren Buffett

"Warren Buffett became one of the wealthiest people in the world by making predictions and putting money behind those predictions. Every time he buys a stock or a business or some other investment, he's forecasting the future.

Judging by the incredible returns of his holding company Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett and his colleagues are very good at making those predictions."

And of course, it doesn't hurt to have an army of lobbyists, paying Congress to vote for huge bailouts for the companies you own.

If you want to be like Warren, just bribe a lot of Congressmen into writing you into the next bailout bill.

And in this article where Warren appears to be channeling Chauncy Gardner, the author ends with, "There will be more dancing at another wild party followed by another painful hangover. Looking back at the Internet bubble, Buffett is quoted as saying, "The world went mad. What we learn from history is that people don't learn from history.""

Thanks Warren, point taken. But we're still screwed.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Politically Correct Liberal Right Whiners

Statue Depicting Fat, Oppressive Western World Symbolizes Copenhagen Conference

In connection with the international climate meeting in Copenhagen, December 7-18, 2009, the Danish artist Jens Galschiot (AIDOH – Art In Defence Of Humanism) received permission to temporarily install a sculpture in the water about 5 m from the famous Little Mermaid. It is roughly the same size and is also cast in bronze. It depicts a very fat white woman sitting on the shoulders of a very thin African man, and obviously refers to the rich countries of the world “feeding” off the poor countries. The title of the piece is The Survival of the Fattest .

Said Americans for Limited Government president Bill Wilson of the statue, “This statue is an obscene indictment of all in Western Civilization who for centuries have worked long and hard to produce the greatest progress the world has known. Instead of being rightly depicted as generous benefactors whose inventions and innovations have moved mankind from the caves to mountaintops, they are depicted as fat, ugly oppressors riding the back of those who, in reality, they have saved by the tens of millions the world over. Barack Obama should demand that the statue be promptly removed — or openly admit it is a symbol of all that he and the global warming frauds actually believe.”

Now the prissy, "Terraists are hiding under my bed!" crowd is showing they can be just as whiny as the far left liberals when it comes to political correctness.

And what a great point they make! Before the USA was created, poor African children had to live in caves, with a fire started without BIC lighters and eating food they killed themselves. They were forced to make their own clothes and weapons. They had to go out and find their own food and avoid the big cats that prowled about in their world.

Note, there was no farming before 1776. and now, we've uplifted them to 16 backbreaking hours a day working in the depths of Coltan mines, starved and beaten until they die.

And of course, I can't post this commentary without adding a photo ripped from The People of Walmart.

Thanks to this nice woman, that African kid has a job to die for. The Coltan he mined before he died, made her cell phone possible. You go girl!

Oh, and did you notice how the unAmerican units used in the commentary. It's 5m from the ... ooops one more time... FIVE METERS.... Is Bill Wilson gonna go move to France now? What kind of self respecting Red Stater gives distances in meters? :P

Friday, December 04, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I know, it's a little bit early...

I think I finally discovered what I want for Christmas.

1. Good friends.
2. Good food and beverages.
3. A new coat.
4. A place to put my beer when I'm at a jam session...

And from my readers, best wishes will do!

Anyone have any interesting desires for the holiday season?

And now for some holiday cheer from Red Green.

Time Warner Cable

Add another data point to our decline...

Wednesday morning, we had high winds and my cable internet went out. I called that evening when it was still down. They sent a tech out the next morning. He determined that the problem was not in my house. So they sent out a lineman who griped and made swearing noises while working on a pole next to really thorny tree. I felt for the guy.

Later last night, still no internet. I called them up and they said the problem was fixed. I told them I still didn't have internet. They said someone would be out in about an hour.

An hour later, the door bell rang. I thought it was the cable guy. Nope, it was a neighbor going door to door, checking to see if anyone in the area had working cable service. He said that Time Warner told him there was not outage, so there was nothing to fix. He had determined that the entire block was out. For him, it was especially annoying because he had cable TV and his wife was missing her shows...

Late last night, I called again. The techie informed my that my internet connection was repaired. I corrected him and asked him to reopen the ticket, and asked when the lineman was due out. He told me that no one was coming out. There was no outage in my area. I asked him how they determine if there is an outage, and he said he had no idea. but he assured me that none of my neighbors were having problems.

So I asked him again to please send someone out to fix my service. He said he would put me down to be monitored, and if in a few days it was determined that there was an outage, they would come out and try to restore my service.

I'm still a bit incredulous that they would do this to their customers. Back in the old days when I used to spend time on the phone talking to vendors, I learned to be mean and to push hard to get the things we were promised. I considered going into Jack Ass Mode with Time Warner, and push to get a technician out there pronto. And I decided it's not worth my effort. If they are going to do this to me once, they'll do it again. If they don't care about providing me with service, I'll quit sending them money.

A little while ago, I ordered FIOS from Verizon. I'll be dropping Time Warner Cable after I get all of my email contacts moved over. This solution will save me a bit cash. It's also twice as fast. It's too bad that there are no vendors in my area that follow Constitutional Law. They all help the government spy on me, while violating my right to be secure in my person, house, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures. Oh well, if my rights must be violated while providing me with a needed service, then I guess I might as well choose the vendor based on quality and price.

I just hope I don't need to work from home before this debacle is over. I'll be using sneaker net for my homework for a time, rather than a secure private network.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Government Bailout Index

The economy keeps declining and shedding jobs, yet the markets look great. Endless rivers of money keep flowing into them, as the actual corporations that the stocks represent, gasp for air.

Each quarter, the job situation looks better. The Gov keeps reporting that jobs are being shed at a slower rate, then later, quietly revise the figure to represent reality. Talking head economists are fooled again and again by this shell game, and gleefully report from the same script, month after month. they bathe and shower in the government lies, and wear those falsehoods with pride in public.

What a strange situation we're in. Well, it looks strange from whence we came. But everyday, we look more and more like Argentina. If there circumstances were a highway, Argentina would be giving us the finger for tailgating.

QueenBee over on Petropest Launchpad noted that folks keep calling for a correction that never comes. I've noticed the same thing. This is why I quit calling for one, some time back. The market continues to rise, as enormous sums of money keep pouring into it. After all, the market only goes up when more money is going in, than going out. And with jobs being lost at such high and consistent levels, it's not the public investing, that is keeping the market rising. At least not the public in the private sector. Yet, someone with big bucks is propping it up.

And there's really only one source of ever increasing money, in an economy going to shit, that can power such an amazing feat. That would be the Federal Reserve, printing new money at breakneck rates, and billing you and I, the taxpayers.

If you've kept up with the bailout news, you know that the bailouts never stopped. They continue in many forms. TARP was just one of the bailouts used. but it was well publicized. Making it one of the more expensive political stunts of our generation. Each quarter we've learned, the biggest banks report profits that are essentially made out of bailouts. Without the bailouts, none of the biggest financial institutions would be solvent today. Their business is the business of receiving free money. They are living off of welfare.

In today's news, Bank of America is paying off their TARP loan. 'Isn't that good news', you might ask? Well, not really. These repayments have been a shell game so far. I think I've pointed this out before, but I'll repeat it.

1. Gov buys preferred stock at an outrageously inflated price.
2. Gov reprices the stock at a deflated value.
3. Gov exchanges the stock with the institution for common stock at an outrageously inflated price.
4. Gov reprices the stock at a deflated value.
5. Gov gives the financial institution the money to buy the stock back.
6. Financial Institution repurchases the stock for pennies on the dollar.

In the mean time the Gov continues to give these institutions quarterly payments through the Federal reserve.

Now some folks are asking, why doesn't this lead to hyperinflation or just come crashing down if the Fed is producing money at such fantastic rates?

I think the answer is simple. The financial institutions are not sharing the money. They are not making loans. The big bucks make it to the consumer through financing. This financing puts money in people's pockets in a myriad of ways. There are business loans, payroll loans, construction loans, etc... These loans ultimately determine how much money is circulating in the economy where human beings live. Conversely, payments on loans suck money out of the human scale economy. Not only does principle get taken out of the economy, but extra money to pay interest is sucked out too.

The quantity of money loaned, must equal the money being paid back, plus interest, to keep this in a steady state. With our population rising, we need more money loaned. If we want growth, these loans have to be expanded further.

This is why we hear lip service being paid to the idea that we need the banks loaning more money. And of course, loaning money to people that can't pay it back..., because not enough money is being loaned...

The bankers aren't stupid. They get free government money for simply existing. They don't need to lose money by making loans. so the money they get, needs to be putting
into other investments. The stock market is one option for that money.

Now with the markets on the rise, I occasionally hear people talk about how they are making money on their investments. I think this is an odd way to view this. The money isn't made until you sell. After all, profit = (Sell Price - Taxes - Commission) - (Purchase Price + Commission). So to see profit, you have to not only buy, but you have to sell. Until you've sold, you've made no money. You've simply incurred costs. Ergo, Profit = -(Purchase Price + Commission).

So if the market keeps rising, the small investor can't keep making money on it. you can buy low and sell high once, but then what are you going to do after that? Buy higher and sell even higher again? You lose the money on commissions on every trade. and as the market rises, you lose ground compared to buy and hold strategy, assuming you can sell near the top. And if you trade all the way up, then you still risk missing the top and losing even more than the buy and hold investor.

The only folks that make money on a long term rising trend, are the brokers. They make money all the way, and all the way down. And the brokers with the big banks, are trading the taxpayer's money. So they don't need to worry about making bad trades. There's lots more money where that came from.

And there is one other source of money I haven't covered. That's gov pensions. Just one more pool of money for the banks to use to manipulate stock prices. After all the Federal Government is our biggest growth industry now. It's growing faster than the US population, and wages for Federal Employees are far higher than for the private sector. It's estimated that there are two Federal employees for each employee in the private sector and those Federal employees each make double the wages of the private industry counterpart. In my conversations with some Federal Employees on the train, these estimates appear to be accurate.

Now if we continue to follow Argentina's lead, then we're just a few years from having those government pensions seized and given to the banks as gifts. If we continue to follow that line, then we can predict protests, while conservatives bash the protesters as being America haters on TV and radio. And the banks will post record earnings.

We're in a tight spot. Through reckless lending policies, Clinton and then Bush pulled forward demand to artificially inflate the economy. We can't stop our free fall without increasing lending. But everyone is so deep in debt, that it would be stupid to loan them money in a free falling economy.

The choice made by our government has been to sacrifice the American economy to save the banks. America has to die if Goldman Sachs is to live a while longer.

Some of the theories floating around as to why the dollar must fail, or the market must fail, revolves around the idea that a foreign power (China?) will take advantage of our plight and use it to hurt us. I've certainly been guilty of making such arguments in the past.

But that only works out if another nation really does have the upper hand. It looks like everyone is in the same situation and doing the same things. They are all acting as a herd. You only get ahead in capitalism by doing things differently. But as the Japanese like to say, the nail that sticks out, get's beaten back down.

If a nation did break out of this chain of bad decision making, then the banks would likely destroy them. If not through economics then by destroying the lives of the politicians making those decisions.

That is likely why the USA can't solve this problem. I can suggest an idea others have suggested, and I believe it would solve our current economic crisis, but it would also likely lead to horrible economic ramifications.

That solution would be some form of debt forgiveness. After all, only by relieving the debt burden, can we go back to borrowing.

I'm sure my readers can think of problems with such a solution. I'm sure many of my readers can think of things in this solution that they would hate. The conservatives sure likely to harp about how house flippers that are going bankrupt and need to pay their dues, or what about this or that class of people that they feel don't deserve compassion or a helping hand. Wait a sec, I get emails everyday from conservative bloggers that are already saying this.

And what if every nation did this? Or did something different? Wouldn't there be some serious risk of opportunities to make a quick buck in collapsing the world economies some other way?

So we're left with only one option, and that's to stick it out and hit bottom. We can't or won't do what needs to be done to flush the debt out of the system, so instead we'll keep scurrying about the deck as the ship sinks.

Enjoy the ride. I'll be maxing martinis in the galley if anyone wants to stop by.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Promoting War Growth

Obama may have finally found a way to differentiate himself from Bush. He may ask us to pay extra for the wars. Bush simply borrowed money to promote his wars, preferring instead to bloat the national debt faster than it's ever bloated before.

Now, Obama is breaking the Bush records in borrowing and spending. But evidently he needs even more money for spending. After all his decision to send 30,000 more troops is expected to (officially) cost an extra $30 billion a year.

So here we go! New Taxes!

Now Obama did a good job in pretending to think about his decision to send more troops. But really, he had no choice. There are few options available to him for creating jobs, so long as he's using the piss down system, where he gives free money to the largest corporations, and they in turn, piss on the taxpayer.

And of course, every industry must grow. Eternal Growth is the cornerstone to the capitalist system as we practice it today. Obama has already made it possible for a few financial institutions to see endless growth, through endlessly increasing sums of regular free money payments.

Now we he needs to look to the defense industry and find a way to make it grow forever. After all, if the defense industry keeps growing, then it will keep the Chinese happy, because it will create manufacturing jobs in China. Of course it will create a few jobs in States, but we can't make weapons as cheap as the Chinese can. and we need to make them happy. We owe them a lot of money. So look forward to more defense contracts going their way.

Now to increase demand for consumables in war, we need more soldiers and more killing. Creating rotting human hamburger, takes work, hard work. And the more human beings we turn into burnt rotting hamburger meat, the more jobs we'll create.

This is really the last frontier for us as a nation. To become a war factory. War is already our biggest export. And to keep the war economy growing, we'll need to keep the wars growing.

After all, if peace breaks out, the gov won't be able to justify dramatic increases in borrowing and spending, as they do now. It's easier to manipulate people out fear, than reason. Reason requires truth telling, and that would signal the Apocalypse. After all, truly acting in an ethical manner, would mean recognizing how screwed we are, and paying the piper, before things get any worse. It would mean popping the bubble and living with the consequences.

We will not do that. We will expand the bubble, and increase the war machine until it comes back to our own shores. When the bubble does pop, it will be an explosion heard around the world and none of us will be untouched.

Obama can't back down and he won't. He's chained to the treadmill of eternal growth. and he, like us, lives on a finite planet. He must expand the wars. We must increase the rate that we explode bombs, bullets, mines and rockets. He must work to turn human beings into rotting hamburger at an ever faster rate, forever.

Yes, Obama looked wise when he pretending to think on whether to send more troops or take the wars in a different direction. But he really had no choice. The delay was for our benefit, to help us trust that he really is in control, and that he really did think about what he had to do. But his path was already laid before him. He cannot turn his back on the quest for eternal growth, on a finite planet.

The wars must grow, so that profits can grow. There are no other options available to those that worship at the altar of Mammon. And so long as they run our country, that's how it's going to be.