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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hunter S Thompson

In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upwardly mobile—and the rest of us are f###ed until we can put our acts together: not necessarily to win, but mainly to keep from losing completely.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hooray for TJ

"Whensoever the General Government (Washington) assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force."

We need a HUGE dose of Thomas Jefferson in our public discourse nowadays.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Twenty bombs out there ticking away.....

These are economic weapons of mass destruction. One explodes, and they are daisy chained together and all will go off. The resulting explosion will make the Great Depression look like child's play. Rather, think "21st Century Dark Ages."

Our financial, economic, and political system is headed (I believe irrevocably, but there may be time to change....) for a firestorm that will make our heads turn around. "Retirement" will be replaced by "survival" as the goal of the vast majority.

I stole this list from Paul Farrell, economics commentator for and ex-banker with Morgan Stanley (where he worked for 30 years). He was also president of Financial News Network, so he knows a little about what he is talking about. You can find these items catalogued here.

The thing Farrell does not mention compounds the problem logarithmically. Never before in human history have so many people been concentrated in CITIES. The horrific thing about that is that cities produce nothing in terms of basic survival needs. They are huge sucking leeches of resources, whether it be water, energy, clothing, articles of daily living and of course, FOOD.
My father used to tell me stories of growing up as a child in the Great Depression. They talked about being poor (his father died when he was 6 months old). They lived on a small rural plot of land you could not realistically call a "farm," , but they had food. It may have been mostly cornbread and beans, but they ate, because they produced it themselves. Never before in human history have so many people been vulnerable to a catastrophic collapse of the "grid." We have whole populations who are simply helpless if the infrastructure crumbles.

Read on for the list of possible "triggers" for a cultural/economic/financial maelstrom, and you might understand why I have been stockpiling gold, guns, ammo, articles for daily living, and now, food.

Maybe I am nuts. Farrell doesn't think so.

1. Federal Budget Deficit Bomb. The Bush/Cheney wars pushed America deep into a debt hole. Federal debt limit was just raised almost 100% with Obama's 2010 budget, to $14.3 trillion vs. $7.8 trillion in 2005. The Congressional Budget Office predicts future deficits around 4% through 2020. Get it? America's debt at 84% of GDP will soon pass that toxic 90% trigger point.

2. U.S. Foreign Trade Bomb. Monthly deficits actually dropped from $50 billion per month to roughly $35 billion. But the total continues climbing as $400 billion is added each year. Foreigners now own $2.5 trillion of America, with China holding over $1.3 trillion in Treasury debt.

3. Weakening U.S. Dollar as Foreign Reserve Currency Bomb. Fear China and other currencies will replace dollar as main foreign reserves. The dollar's fallen: The main index measuring dollar strength has gone from 120 at the Clinton-to-Bush handoff to below 80 today.

4. Cheap Money Bomb: Credit Ratings Down, Rates Up. Economists at S&P, Fitch and Moody's were totally co-conspirators of Fat Cat Bankers, misleading investors before meltdown: Soon, debt up, ratings down, interest rates soar.

5. Global Real Estate Bomb. Dubai Tower, new "world's tallest building" is empty. BusinessWeek warns that China's housing collapse could be worse than America's. Plus the U.S. commercial real estate bubble is now $1.7 trillion, a "ticking time bomb" bloating 25% of bank balance sheets.

6. Peak Oil and the Population Bomb. China and India each need 500 new cities. The United Nations estimates world population exploding 50% from 6 billion to 9 billion by 2050: Three billion more humans demanding more automobiles, exhausting more resources to feed their version of the gas-guzzling "America Dream."

7. Social Security Bomb. We have no choice; eventually we must either cut benefits or raise taxes. Politicians hate both, so they'll do nothing. Delays worsen solutions. Without action, by 2035 Social Security and Medicare benefits will eat up the entire federal budget other than defense.

8. Medicare: A Nuclear Bomb. Going broke faster than Social Security. Prescription drug benefit added an unfunded $8.1 trillion. In 5 years estimates rose from about $35 trillion to over $60 trillion now.

9. Health-care Insurance Bomb. Burden increasingly shifted to employees. Costs rising faster than inflation. Recent Obamacare plan would have cost $90 billion annually, paid to Big Pharma and insurers.

10. State and Local Government Budget Bombs. Deficits of $110 billion in 2010, $178 billion in 2011on top of more that $450 billion in underfunded state and municipal employee pension funds.

11. Underfunded Corporate Pensions Bomb. From $60 billion surplus in 2007 to $409 billion deficit in 2009. And a whopping 92% of the pension plans of companies are now underfunded. Defaults are guaranteed by taxpayers.

12. Consumer Debt Bomb. Americans are still living beyond their means. Even with a downturn, consumer debt rose from about $2.3 to $2.5 trillion. Fat Cat Bankers love it -- yes love making matters worse by gouging cardholders and mortgagees, blocking help in foreclosures and bankruptcies.

13. Personal Savings Bomb. Before the 2008 meltdown savings rate dropped from about 10% in the early 1980s to below zero. Now it's increasing, slowing retail recovery. Today, government's the big "unsaver."

14. War and Military Defense Deficits. Costs of Iraq and Afghanistan wars -- $200+ billion annually, $3 trillion minimum, with massive long-term costs for veteran medical care, equipment renewal, recruitment.

15. Homeland Insecurity Bomb. Security at airports, seaports, borders, vulnerable chemical plants all increase budgets.

16. Fed/Treasury Bailout Bombs. Tax credits, loans, cash and purchase of toxic assets from Wall Street banks estimated at $23.7 trillion as new debt was shifted from too-big-to-fail Fat-Cat banks to taxpayers.

17. Insatiable Washington Lobbyists Bombs. Paulson, Goldman, Geithner, Morgan and Wall Street banks, through their lobbyists and former employees working inside now have absolute power over government spending. Democracy and voters are now irrelevant in America's new corporate-socialism.

18. Shadow Banking: The Derivatives Bomb. Wall Street wants no regulation of this $670 trillion, high-risk, out-of-control casino that's highly leveraged versus the $50 trillion total GDP of all nations. We forget that derivatives almost destroyed global economies in 2008-09, finally will by 2012.

19. Dysfunctional Two-Party Political Bomb. Polarized partisanship increasing: Every day both parties show zero interest in cooperating for the public good. Instead they fight viciously, resisting everything and anything proposed by opponents. Only goal: Score political points, make the other side look bad.

20. The Coming Populous Rebellion Bombs. Nobody trusts anyone in authority. For good reason. So immediate gratification, short-term betting and a lack of long-term perspective wins for individual investors, consumers and taxpayers as well as Washington, Wall Street and Corporate America CEOs. Today: "Doing what's right for the common good and country" is just empty political rhetoric.

"Environmentalism" at its core

"Environmental extremism is a breathless handmaiden for collectivism. It pours a layer of smooth, creamy science over a relentless hunger for power. Since the boogeymen of the Green movement threaten the very Earth itself with imminent destruction, the environmentalist feels morally justified in suspending democracy and seizing the liberty of others. Of course we can’t put these matters to a vote! The dimwitted hicks in flyover country can’t understand advanced biochemistry or climate science. They might vote the wrong way, and we can’t risk the consequences! The menace can only be battled by a mighty central State. Talk of representation, property rights, and even free speech is madness when such a threat towers above the fragile ecosphere, wheezing pollutants and coughing out a stream of dead birds and drowned polar bears"

BINGO!!! from

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Origin of the "birthers".....

One of the really crazy, bizarre and weird truths about today's political climate is how everything is jumbled up. One of the craziest elements of this mess is the fact that the "birther" group, which claims Obama was born in Kenya, and therefore not eligible to be president, actually was born in the DEMOCRATIC party.

The original "birthers" were not Tea Party Palinists, but a bunch of Hilary Clinton supporters, furious at what they saw as a power play among the party elites to deny her the nomination. They called themselves "PUMA"s (Party Unity, My Ass), and published reams and reams on the birth info on Obama, long before the election. Their leader legal investigations was Phil Berg, a lifetime Democratic activist and a 911 truther.

In the run-up to the election, my wife discovered a few of these sites. We were goggle eyed and astounded at how many of these women wound up being supporters of Sarah Palin. (Estrogen trumps all, for many of them).

Anyway, the next time someone mentions how wack and weird the birthers are, you might mention that that charge actually originated with the original "O" haters, Democratic Party activists.

Life is grand, just because it is so weird.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

An encouraging note from NC 4th congressional district!

BJ Lawson has decided to run again for Congress!!! BJ is the ultimate "anti" candidate. He ran against David Price in 2008, and polled 37% in an Obama Tsunami. This is better than any candidate has done since the district was re-drawn to ensure Price's re-election by the state political hacks. I was introduced to BJ when I was following Ron Paul's presidential run. He has been called the "hybrid candidate" because he attracted so many traditional Democrat voters, due to his strong stance on issues of personal liberty.

His website on issues is still not up, but here are a few of his positions:

Audit the Federal Reserve -- does it make sense to have the monetary policy of the USA determined by a private group of non-accountable international bankers?

A non interventionist foreign policy -- there are ways of resisting Islamofascism and making us safe OTHER than bleeding us dry with wars, invoking hostility and/or resentment from other countries, and stationing our armed forces in over 150 countries around the world

Restore power to the states and the people by forcing Congress to SPECIFICALLY STATE the constitutional justification for each piece of legislation (see Bill of Rights, amendments 9 and 10)

Roll back the unconstitutional power grab of the Federal government in areas of firearms, drug laws, reproductive/abortion issues, eminent domain, education and scores of other areas which do not belong to DC, under our Constitution, including of course, NCAA football championship playoffs (no, I am not kidding!)

Energy Independence -- is it wise to be enslaved to oil producing countries who openly wish us harm? We have a plethora of energy sources available, including nuclear.

A sound currency -- the dollar has lost 96% of its value over the last 90 or so years, and is due to nosedive due to the reckless and profligate spending of the current and previous administration. Part of that soundness would be the authorization of competing currencies with the fiat money issued by the federal reserve, a practice that has a rich history in our country, and one which would enhance federal honesty in minting.

Reversal of the "patriot act" and other federal intrusions into the rights and privacy of American citizens, along with restoration of habeas corpus, and a reversal of the horrible "right" of the State Department to declare even American citizens to be "enenmy combatants" and kill them, without a trial or official investigation

End the creation of "zombie" corporations by excessive cash dumping into bankrupt companies. Dr. Lawson believes that companies with viable assets who no longer are fiscally able to stand should be allowed to liquidate those assets to healthy companies more able to utilize them (we used to call this practice "bankruptcy")

Stop the insane, wildass spending by the Federal Government at all levels, and demand a return to a constitutionally authorized budget, rather than one simply authorized by Congressional appropriation wherever they feel moved to fund something.

You can follow his progress here

"Things are a little bit worse than had been expected,"

"Things are a little bit worse than had been expected," says Stephen Goss, chief actuary for the Social Security Administration. "Clearly, we're going to be negative for a year or two."


Social Security took in only $3 billion more in taxes last year than it paid out in benefits — a $60 billion decline from 2008, according to federal data. The slide in revenue occurred sooner than Social Security actuaries had expected, for three reasons:

• Payroll tax revenue that was growing at a 4.5% average annual clip along with wages flattened out in 2009 because of rising unemployment and pay raises that largely disappeared.

• The number of retired workers who began taking benefits increased by 20%; those taking disability jumped by 10%.

• Monthly benefits were raised 5.8% because of a spike in energy prices the year before.

Social Security was saved from bankruptcy in 1983 by a bipartisan deal that increased payroll taxes, taxed some benefits and gradually raised the retirement age to 67. That was supposed to keep the system solvent at least until 2058, but the projection has slipped to 2037.

The impact of the recession shows that "for all these projections, unexpected things happen," says Maya MacGuineas of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.. "Money has to be found to repay those trust funds."

President George W. Bush proposed voluntary private retirement accounts in 2005, but the effort stalled in Congress. President Obama has proposed giving Social Security and other thorny fiscal issues to a bipartisan commission.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Just to go on record....

I am long SRS (a pro-shares ultra short fund). It is the only equity I own. Bought it at 7.96. I will sell half of it at 15. I would not be surprised at all to see it retrace to 100.

Just sayin.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Social Security is officially broke.....

and our government leaders are lying sacks of .......

"...... even as the bank bailout is winding down, another huge bailout is starting, this time for the Social Security system.

A report from the Congressional Budget Office shows that for the first time in 25 years, Social Security is taking in less in taxes than it is spending on benefits.

Instead of helping to finance the rest of the government, as it has done for decades, our nation's biggest social program needs help from the Treasury to keep benefit checks from bouncing -- in other words, a taxpayer bailout.

No one has officially announced that Social Security will be cash-negative this year. But you can figure it out for yourself, as I did, by comparing two numbers in the recent federal budget update that the nonpartisan CBO issued last week.

The first number is $120 billion, the interest that Social Security will earn on its trust fund in fiscal 2010 (see page 74 of the CBO report). The second is $92 billion, the overall Social Security surplus for fiscal 2010 (see page 116).

This means that without the interest income, Social Security will be $28 billion in the hole this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30."

from cnn money

The Country’s In The Best Of Hands

The good news is that, when it comes to reshaping the U.S. mortgage market [any market for that matter — ed.], the Obama administration’s top guns are bringing to bear all of the brisk, rough-’n’-ready entrepreneurial know-how they picked up in their previous careers as university professors, nonprofit activists, and holders of political sinecures.-- From Transterrestrial Musings

or, as one wag put it, they are like the social workers assigned to child welfare who are simply brimming with knowledge about the subject....., not because they have children themselves or have much personal experience in the matter, but because they read lots of books about it in college.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

HOW ENCOURAGING!! The IRS is buying shotguns

here is the link. Just makes me want to wave an American flag or something.