Saturday, March 31, 2012
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
You will enjoy this. ---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: The kids filed into class Monday morning. They were very excited. Their weekend assignment was to sell something, then give a talk on productive salesmanship. Little Sally led off: "I sold girl scout cookies and I made $30" she said proudly, "My sales approach was to appeal to the customer's civil spirit and I credit that approach for my obvious success." "Very good" said the teacher. Little Jenny was next: "I sold magazines" she said, "I made $45 and I explained to everyone that magazines would keep them up on current events." "Very good, Jenny" said the teacher. Eventually, it was Little Johnny's turn. The teacher held her breath...Little Johnny walked to the front of the classroom and dumped a box full of cash on the teacher's desk. "$2,467" he said. "$2,467!" cried the teacher, "What in the world were you selling?" Toothbrushes" said Little Johnny. "Toothbrushes" echoed the teacher, "How could you possibly sell enough tooth brushes to make that much money?" "I found the busiest corner in town" said Little Johnny, "I set up a Dip and Chip stand, I gave everybody who walked by a free sample." They all said the same thing, "Hey, this tastes like dog crap!" Then I would say, "It is dog crap. Wanna buy a toothbrush? I used the Obama method of giving you something shitty, dressing it up so it looks good, telling you it's free, and then making you pay to get the bad taste out of your mouth." Little Johnny got five stars for his efforts, bless his heart
Do you have Guns in your house? I have been asked "Do you keep guns in the house?" The nurse just kinda slipped it in along with all the other regular questions. I told her I refused to answer because it was against the law to ask. Everyone,whether you have guns or not, should give a neutral answer so they have no idea who does and who doesn't. My doctor asked me if I had guns in my house and also if any were loaded.? I, of course, answered yes to both questions. Then he asked why I kept a loaded gun close to my bed. I answered that my son, who is a certified gun instructor and also works for Homeland Security, advised me that an unloaded, locked up gun is no protection against criminal attack. The Government now requires these questions be asked of people on Medicare, and probably everyone else. Just passing this along for your information: I had to visit a doctor other than my regular doctor when my doctor was on vacation. One of the questions on the form I had to fill out was: Do you have any guns in your house? My answer was "None of your damn business!" It is either an insurance issue or government intervention. Either way, it is out there and the second the government gets into your medical records (As they want to do under Obamacare) it will become a major issue and will ultimately result in lock and load!! Please pass this on to all the other retired guys and gun owners...Thanks From a Vietnam Vet and retired Police Officer: I had a doctors appointment at the local VA clinic yesterday and found out something very interesting that I would like to pass along. While going through triage before seeing the doctor, I was asked at the end of the exam, three questions: 1. Did I feel stressed? 2. Did I feel threatened? 3. Did I feel like doing harm to someone? The nurse then informed me, that if I had answered yes to any of the questions, I would have lost my concealed carry permit as it would have gone into my medical records and the VA would have reported it to Homeland Security. Looks like they are going after the vets first. Other gun people like retired law enforcement will probably be next. Then when they go after the civilians, what argument will they have? Be forewarned and be aware. The Obama administration has gone on record as considering veterans and gun owners potential terrorists. Whether you are a gun owner veteran or not, YOU"VE BEEN WARNED If you know veterans and gun owners, please pass this on to them. Be very cautious about what you say and to whom.
Quit trashing President Obama's accomplishments An impressive list of accomplishments: First President to apply for college aid as a foreign student, then deny he was a foreigner. First President to have a social security number from a state he has never lived in. First President to preside over a cut to the credit-rating of the United States First President to violate the War Powers Act. . First President to be held in contempt of court for illegally obstructing oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. First President to defy a Federal Judge's court order to cease implementing the Health Care Reform Law. First President to require all Americans to purchase a product from a third party. First President to spend a trillion dollars on 'shovel-ready' jobs when there was no such thing as 'shovel-ready' jobs. First President to abrogate bankruptcy law to turn over control of companies to his union supporters. First President to by-pass Congress and implement the Dream Act through executive fiat. First President to order a secret amnesty program that stopped the deportation of illegal immigrants across the U.S., including those with criminal convictions. First President to demand a company hand-over $20 billion to one of his political appointees. First President to terminate America's ability to put a man in space. First President to have a law signed by an auto-pen without being present. First President to arbitrarily declare an existing law unconstitutional and refuse to enforce it. First President to threaten insurance companies if they publicly spoke-out on the reasons for their rate increases. First President to tell a major manufacturing company in which state it is allowed to locate a factory. First President to file lawsuits against the states he swore an oath to protect (AZ, WI, OH, IN). First President to withdraw an existing coal permit that had been properly issued years ago. First President to fire an inspector general of Ameri-Corps for catching one of his friends in a corruption case. First President to appoint 45 czars to replace elected officials in his office. . First President to golf 73 separate times in his first two and a half years in office, 90 to date. First President to hide his medical, educational and travel records. First President to win a Nobel Peace Prize for doing NOTHING to earn it. First President to go on multiple global 'apology tours'. First President to go on 17 lavish vacations, including date nights and Wednesday evening White House parties for his friends paid for by the taxpayer. First President to have 22 personal servants (taxpayer funded) for his wife. First President to keep a dog trainer on retainer for $102,000 a year at taxpayer expense. First President to repeat the Holy Quran tells us the early morning call of the Azan (Islamic call to worship) is the most beautiful sound on earth. First President to take a 17 day vacation. How is this hope and change working out for you? THERE'S AN ELECTION COMING UP... I HOPE YOU REMEMBER THIS LIST WHEN YOU VOTE!
Monday, March 26, 2012
Friday, March 23, 2012
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Afghanistan and the Long War By George Friedman | March 20, 2012 The war in Afghanistan has been under way for more than 10 years. It has not been the only war fought during this time; for seven of those years another, larger war was waged in Iraq, and smaller conflicts were under way in a number of other countries as well. But the Afghanistan War is still the longest large-scale, multi-divisional war fought in American history. An American soldier's killing of 16 Afghan civilians, including nine children, on March 11 represents only a moment in this long war, but it is an important moment. In the course of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, military strategists in the United States developed the concept of the long war. The theory was presented in many ways, but its core argument was this: The defeat of Taliban forces and the Iraqi resistance would take a long time, but success would not end the war because Islamist terrorism and its supporters would be a constantly shifting threat, both in the places and in the ways they would operate. Therefore, since it was essential to defeat terrorism, the United States was now engaging in a long war whose end was distant and course unknown. Read More » Comments? Send them to email@example.com
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Borderland Beat: UNhelpful: The UN report on forced disappearances...: By Chris Covert Rantburg.com A post at the AnimalPolitico.com blog by Catalina Perez Correa last week detailed the circumstances by which 44...
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Subject: California Is Obama's Dream Roger Hedgecock is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host. RADIO STATION 600 AM, SAN DIEGO CALIFORNIA IS OBAMA’S DREAM Written by Roger Hedgecock, former Mayor of San Diego http://api.ning.com/files/nResYytUsItZ4ibWlesfpQCr0LX9E2MNVgXsiipY6B7wql5r4GWUW-BsbD2yhsWQQYuzMznh62f6wm-ijK0o9bjoq2mMGo/Hedgecock.jpg I live in California . If you were wondering what living in Obama's second term would be like, wonder no longer. We in California are living there now. California is a one-party state dominated by a virulent Democrat Left enabled by a complicit media where every agency of local, county, and state government is run by and for the public employee unions. The unemployment rate is 12%. California has more folks on food stamps than any other state, has added so many benefits and higher rates to Medicaid that we call it "Medi-Cal." Our K-12 schools have more administrators than teachers, with smaller classes but lower test scores and higher dropout rates with twice the per-student budget of 15 years ago. Good job, Brownie. This week, the once and current Gov. Jerry "Moon-beam" Brown had to confess that the "balanced" state budget adopted five months ago was billions in the red because actual tax revenues were billions lower than the airy-fairy revenue estimates on which the balance was predicated. After trimming legislators' perks and reducing the number of cell phones provided to state civil servants, the governor intoned that drastic budget reductions had already hollowed out state programs for the needy, law enforcement and our schoolchildren. California government needed more money. Echoing the Occupy movement, the governor proclaimed the rich must pay their fair share. Fair share? The top 1% of California income earners currently pays 50% of the state's income tax. California has seven income tax brackets. The top income tax rate is 9.3%, which is slapped on the greedy rich earning at least $47,056 a year. Income of more than $1 million pays the "millionaires' and billionaires'" surcharge tax rate of 10.3%. Brown's proposal would add 2% for income over $250,000. A million-dollar income would then be taxed at 12.3%. And that's just for the state. Brown also proposed a one-half-cent sales tax increase, which would bring sales taxes (which vary by county) up to 7.75% to as much as 10%. Both tax increases would be on the ballot in 2012. The sales tax increase proposal immediately brought howls of protest from the Left (of Brown!). Charlie Eaton, a sociology grad student at UC Berkeley and leader of the UC Student-Workers Union, said, "We've paid enough. It's time for millionaires to pay." At least five other ballot measures to raise taxes are circulating for signatures to get on the 2012 ballot in California . The governor's proposals are the most conservative. The Obama way doesn't end with taxes. The governor and the state legislature continue to applaud the efforts of the California High Speed Rail Authority to build a train connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco . Even though the budget is three times the voter-approved amount, and the first segment will only connect two small towns in the agricultural Central Valley . But hey, if we build it, they will ride. And we don't want to turn down the Obama bullet-train bucks Florida and other states rejected because the operating costs would bankrupt them. Can't happen here because we're already insolvent. If we get into real trouble with the train, we'll just bring in the Chinese. It worked with the Bay Bridge reconstruction. After the 1989 earthquake, the bridge connecting Oakland and San Francisco was rebuilt with steel made in China . Workers from China too. Paid for with money borrowed from China . Makes perfect sense. In California , we hate the evil, greedy rich (except the rich in Hollywood, in sports, and in drug dealing). But we love people who have broken into California to eat the bounty created by the productive rich. Illegals get benefits from various generous welfare programs, free medical care, free schools for their kids, including meals, and of course, instate tuition rates and scholarships too. Nothing's too good for our guests. To erase even a hint of criticism of illegal immigration, the California Legislature is considering a unilateral state amnesty. Democrat State Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes has proposed an initiative that would bar deportation of illegals from California . Interesting dilemma for Obama there. If immigration is exclusively a federal matter, and Obama has sued four states for trying to enforce federal immigration laws he won't enforce, what will the President do to a California law that exempts California from federal immigration law? California is also near fulfilling the environmentalist dream of deindustrialization. After driving out the old industrial base (auto and airplane assembly, for example), air and water regulators and tax policies are now driving out the high-tech, biotech and even Internet-based companies that were supposed to be California's future. The California cap-and-trade tax on business in the name of reducing CO2 makes our state the leader in wacky environmentalism and guarantees a further job exodus from the state. Even green energy companies can't do business in California . Solyndra went under, taking its taxpayer loan guarantee with it. No job is too small to escape the regulators. The state has even banned weekend amateur gold miners from the historic gold mining streams in the Sierra Nevada Mountains . In fact, more and more of California's public land is off-limits to recreation by the people who paid for that land. Unless you're illegal. Then you can clear the land, set up marijuana plantations at will, bring in fertilizers that legal farmers can no longer use, exploit illegal farm workers who live in hovels with no running water or sanitation, and protect your investment with armed illegals carrying guns no California citizen is allowed to own. The rest of us only found out about these plantations when the workers' open campfire started one of those devastating fires that have killed hundreds of people and burned out thousands of homes in California over the last decade. It's often said that whatever happens in California will soon happen in your state. You'd better hope that's wrong. Roger Hedgecock is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host. RADIO STATION 600 AM, SAN DIEGO
Friday, March 16, 2012
Thursday, March 15, 2012
PRESIDENCY SOME WILL APPRECIATE THIS AND SOME WILL NOT. HOWEVER, ALL OF IT IS TRUE. After 29 months of Obama .... Here's your change! January 2009 TODAY % chg Source Avg.. Retail price/gallon gas in U.S. $1.83 $3.44 84% 1 Crude oil, European Brent (barrel) $43..48 $99..02 127.7% 2 Crude oil, West TX Inter. (barrel) $38..74 $91..38 135.9% 2 Gold: London (per troy oz.) $853.25 $1,369.50 60.5% 2 Corn, No.2 yellow, Central IL $3.56 $6.33 78.1% 2 Soybeans, No. 1 yellow, IL $9.66 $13..75 42.3% 2 Sugar, cane, raw, world, lb.Fob $13..37 $35..39 164.7% 2 Unemployment rate, non-farm, overall 7.6% 9.4% 23.7% 3 Unemployment rate, blacks 12.6% 15.8% 25.4% 3 Number of unemployed 11,616,000 14,485,000 24.7% 3 Number of fed. Employees 2,779,000 2,840,000 2.2% 3 Real median household income $50,112 $49,777 -0.7% 4 Number of food stamp recipients 31,983,716 43,200,878 35.1% 5 Number of unemployment benefit recipients 7,526,598 9,193,838 22.2% 6 Number of long-term unemployed 2,600,000 6,400,000 146.2% 3 Poverty rate, individuals 13.2% 14.3% 8.3% 4 People in poverty in U.S. 39,800,000 43,600,000 9.5% 4 U.S.. Rank in Economic Freedom World Rankings 5 9 n/a 10 Present Situation Index 29.9 23.5 -21.4% 11 Failed banks 140 164 17.1% 12 U.S.. Dollar versus Japanese yen exchange rate 89.76 82.03 -8.6% 2 U.S.. Money supply, M1, in billions 1,575.1 1,865.7 18.4% 13 U.S.. Money supply, M2, in billions 8,310.9 8,852.3 6.5% 13 National debt, in trillions $10..627 $14..052 32.2% 14 Just take this last item: In the last two years we have accumulated national debt at a ratemore than 27 times as fast as during the rest of our entire nation's history. Over 27 times as fast. Metaphorically speaking, if you are driving in the right lane doing 65 MPH and a car rockets past you in the left lane. 27 times faster, it would be doing 1,755 MPH! Sources: (1) U.S. Energy Information Administration; (2) Wall Street Journal; (3) Bureau of Labor Statistics; (4) Census Bureau; (5) USDA; (6) U.S. Dept. Of Labor; (7) FHFA; (8) Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller; (9) RealtyTrac; (10) Heritage Foundation and WSJ; (11) The Conference Board; (12) FDIC; (13) Federal Reserve; (14) U.S. Treasury So, tell me again, what is it about Obama that makes him so brilliant and impressive? Can't think of anything? Don't worry. He's done all this in 29 months -- so you'll have one year to come up with an answer. Every statement in this email is factual and directly attributable to Barrack Hussein Obama. Every bumble is a matter of record and completely verifiable. "You can't fix stupid, but you can vote it out."
This is FREE intelligence for distribution. Forward this to your colleagues. A Practical Guide to Situational Awareness By Scott Stewart | March 15, 2012 For the past three weeks we have been running a series in the Security Weekly that focuses on some of the fundamentals of terrorism. First, we noted that terrorism is a tactic not exclusive to any one group and that the tactic would not end even if the jihadist threat were to disappear. We then discussed how actors planning terrorist attacks have to follow a planning process and noted that there are times during that process when such plots are vulnerable to detection. Last week we discussed how one of the most important vulnerabilities during the terrorism planning process is surveillance, and we outlined what bad surveillance looks like and described some basic tools to help identify those conducting it. At the end of last week's Security Weekly we also discussed how living in a state of paranoia and looking for a terrorist behind every bush not only is dangerous to one's physical and mental health but also results in poor security. This brings us to this week, where we want to discuss the fundamentals of situational awareness and explain how people can practice the technique in a relaxed and sustainable way. Read More »
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Friday, March 9, 2012
Black and White (Under age 40? You won't understand.) You could hardly see for all the snow, Spread the rabbit ears as far as they go. Pull a chair up to the TV set, 'Good Night, David. Good Night, Chet.' My Mom used to cut chicken, chop eggs and spread Mayo on the same cutting board with the same knife and no bleach, but we didn't seem to get food poisoning. My Mom used to defrost hamburger on the counter and I used to eat it raw sometimes, too. Our school sandwiches were wrapped in wax paper in a brown paper bag, not in ice pack coolers, but I can't remember getting e.coli. Almost all of us would have rather gone swimming in the lake instead of a pristine pool (talk about boring), no beach closures then. The term cell phone would have conjured up a phone in a jail cell, and a pager was the school PA system. We all took gym, not PE ... And risked permanent injury with a pair of high top Ked's (only worn in gym) instead of having cross-training athletic shoes with air cushion soles and built in light reflectors. I can't recall any injuries but they must have happened because they tell us how much safer we are now. Flunking gym was not an option... Even for stupid kids! I guess PE must be much harder than gym. Speaking of school, we all said prayers and sang the national anthem, and staying in detention after school caught all sorts of negative attention. We must have had horribly damaged psyches. What an archaic health system we had then. Remember school nurses? Ours wore a hat and everything. I thought that I was supposed to accomplish something before I was allowed to be proud of myself. I just can't recall how bored we were without computers, Play Station, Nintendo, X-box or 270 digital TV cable stations. Oh yeah ... And where was the Benadryl and sterilization kit when I got that bee sting? I could have been killed! We played 'king of the hill' on piles of gravel left on vacant construction sites, and when we got hurt, Mom pulled out the 48-cent bottle of mercurochrome (kids liked it better because it didn't sting like iodine did) and then we got our butt spanked. Now it's a trip to the emergency room, followed by a 10-day dose of a $49 bottle of antibiotics, and then Mom calls the attorney to sue the contractor for leaving a horribly vicious pile of gravel where it was such a threat. I recall Donny Reynolds from next door coming over and doing his tricks on the front stoop, just before he fell off. Little did his Mom know that she could have owned our house. Instead, she picked him up and swatted him for being such a goof. It was a neighborhood run amuck. To top it off, not a single person I knew had ever been told that they were from a dysfunctional family. How could we possibly have known that? We needed to get into group therapy and anger management classes. We were obviously so duped by so many societal ills, that we didn't even notice that the entire country wasn't taking Prozac! How did we ever survive? LOVE TO ALL OF US WHO SHARED THIS ERA; AND TO ALL WHO DIDN'T, SORRY FOR WHAT YOU MISSED. I WOULDN'T TRADE IT FOR ANYTHING! Pass this to someone and remember that life's most simple pleasures are very often the best.
I like this idea … lawmakers should not be above the laws and policies they create! Subject: 28th amendment No one has been able to explain to me why young men and women serve in the U.S. Military for 20 years, risking their lives protecting freedom, and only get 50% of their pay. While Politicians hold their political positions in the safe confines of the capital, protected by these same men and women, and receive full pay retirement after serving one term. It just does not make any sense. Monday on Fox news they learned that the staffers of Congress family members are exempt from having to pay back student loans. This will get national attention if other news networks will broadcast it. When you add this to the below, just where will all of it stop? 35 States file lawsuit against the Federal Government Governors of 35 states have filed suit against the Federal Government for imposing unlawful burdens upon them. It only takes 38 (of the 50) States to convene a Constitutional Convention. This will take less than thirty seconds to read. If you agree, please pass it on. This is an idea that we should address. For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress. Many citizens had no idea that members of Congress could retire with the same pay after only one term, that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The latest is to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform... in all of its forms. Somehow, that doesn't seem logical. We do not have an elite that is above the law. I truly don't care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever.. The self-serving must stop. If each person that receives this will forward it on to 20 people, in three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message.. This is one proposal that really should be passed around. Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution: "Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States ." You are one of my 20+ "If you choose not to decide ~ you still have made a choice
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Why David Stockman isn't buying it Email this Story Mar 2, 2:29 PM (ET) By BERNARD CONDON (AP) In this Feb. 23, 2012 photo, David Stockman, wunderkind of the Reagan administration and a key... Full Image NEW YORK (AP) - He was an architect of one of the biggest tax cuts in U.S. history. He spent much of his career after politics using borrowed money to take over companies. He targeted the riskiest ones that most investors shunned - car-parts makers, textile mills. That is one image of David Stockman, the former White House budget director who, after resigning in protest over deficit spending, made a fortune in corporate buyouts. But spend time with him and you discover this former wunderkind of the Reagan revolution is many other things now - an advocate for higher taxes, a critic of the work that made him rich and a scared investor who doesn't own a single stock for fear of another financial crisis. Stockman suggests you'd be a fool to hold anything but cash now, and maybe a few bars of gold. He thinks the Federal Reserve's efforts to ease the pain from the collapse of our "national leveraged buyout" - his term for decades of reckless, debt-fueled spending by government, families and companies - is pumping stock and bond markets to dangerous heights. Known for his grasp of budgetary minutiae, first as a Michigan congressman and then as Reagan's budget director, Stockman still dazzles with his command of numbers. Ask him about jobs, and he'll spit out government estimates for non-farm payrolls down to the tenth of a decimal point. Prod him again and, as from a grim pinata, more figures spill out: personal consumption expenditures, credit market debt and the clunky sounding but all-important non-residential fixed investment. Stockman may seem as exciting as an insurance actuary, but he knows how to tell a good story. And the punch line to this one is gripping. He says the numbers for the U.S. don't add up to anything but a painful, slow-growing future. Now 65 and gray, but still wearing his trademark owlish glasses, Stockman took time from writing his book about the financial collapse, "The Triumph of Crony Capitalism," to talk to The Associated Press at his book-lined home in Greenwich, Conn. Within reach was Dickens'"Hard Times" - two copies. Below are excerpts, edited for clarity. --- Q: Why are you so down on the U.S. economy? A: It's become super-saturated with debt. Typically the private and public sectors would borrow $1.50 or $1.60 each year for every $1 of GDP growth. That was the golden constant. It had been at that ratio for 100 years save for some minor squiggles during the bottom of the Depression. By the time we got to the mid-'90s, we were borrowing $3 for every $1 of GDP growth. And by the time we got to the peak in 2006 or 2007, we were actually taking on $6 of new debt to grind out $1 of new GDP. People were taking $25,000, $50,000 out of their home for the fourth refinancing. That's what was keeping the economy going, creating jobs in restaurants, creating jobs in retail, creating jobs as gardeners, creating jobs as Pilates instructors that were not supportable with organic earnings and income. It wasn't sustainable. It wasn't real consumption or real income. It was bubble economics. So even the 1.6 percent (annual GDP growth in the past decade) is overstating what's really going on in our economy. Q: How fast can the U.S. economy grow? A: People would say the standard is 3, 3.5 percent. I don't even know if we could grow at 1 or 2 percent. When you have to stop borrowing at these tremendous rates, the rate of GDP expansion stops as well. Q: But the unemployment rate is falling and companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 are making more money than ever. A: That's very short-term. Look at the data that really counts. The 131.7 million (jobs in November) was first achieved in February 2000. That number has gone nowhere for 12 years. Another measure is the rate of investment in new plant and equipment. There is no sustained net investment in our economy. The rate of growth since 2000 (in what the Commerce Department calls non-residential fixed investment) has been 0.8 percent - hardly measurable. (Non-residential fixed investment is the money put into office buildings, factories, software and other equipment.) We're stalled, stuck. Q: What will 10-year Treasurys yield in a year or five years? A: I have no guess, but I do know where it is now (a yield of about 2 percent) is totally artificial. It's the result of massive purchases by not only the Fed but all of the other central banks of the world. Q: What's wrong with that? A: It doesn't come out of savings. It's made up money. It's printing press money. When the Fed buys $5 billion worth of bonds this morning, which it's doing periodically, it simply deposits $5 billion in the bank accounts of the eight dealers they buy the bonds from. Q: And what are the consequences of that? A: The consequences are horrendous. If you could make the world rich by having all the central banks print unlimited money, then we have been making a mistake for the last several thousand years of human history. Q: How does it end? A: At some point confidence is lost, and people don't want to own the (Treasury) paper. I mean why in the world, when the inflation rate has been 2.5 percent for the last 15 years, would you want to own a five-year note today at 80 basis points (0.8 percent)? If the central banks ever stop buying, or actually begin to reduce their totally bloated, abnormal, freakishly large balance sheets, all of these speculators are going to sell their bonds in a heartbeat. That's what happened in Greece. Here's the heart of the matter. The Fed is a patsy. It is a pathetic dependent of the big Wall Street banks, traders and hedge funds. Everything (it does) is designed to keep this rickety structure from unwinding. If you had a (former Fed Chairman) Paul Volcker running the Fed today - utterly fearless and independent and willing to scare the hell out of the market any day of the week - you wouldn't have half, you wouldn't have 95 percent, of the speculative positions today. Q: You sound as if we're facing a financial crisis like the one that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008. A: Oh, far worse than Lehman. When the real margin call in the great beyond arrives, the carnage will be unimaginable. Q: How do investors protect themselves? What about the stock market? A: I wouldn't touch the stock market with a 100-foot pole. It's a dangerous place. It's not safe for men, women or children. Q: Do you own any shares? A: No. Q: But the stock market is trading cheap by some measures. It's valued at 12.5 times expected earnings this year. The typical multiple is 15 times. A: The typical multiple is based on a historic period when the economy could grow at a standard rate. The idea that you can capitalize this market at a rate that was safe to capitalize it in 1990 or 1970 or 1955 is a large mistake. It's a Wall Street sales pitch. Q: Are you in short-term Treasurys? A: I'm just in short-term, yeah. Call it cash. I have some gold. I'm not going to take any risk. Q: Municipal bonds? A: No. Q: No munis, no stocks. Wow. You're not making any money. A: Capital preservation is what your first, second and third priority ought to be in a system that is so jerry-built, so fragile, so exposed to major breakdown that it's not worth what you think you might be able to earn over six months or two years or three years if they can keep the bailing wire and bubble gum holding the system together, OK? It's not worth it. Q: Give me your prescription to fix the economy. A: We have to eat our broccoli for a good period of time. And that means our taxes are going to go up on everybody, not just the rich. It means that we have to stop subsidizing debt by getting a sane set of people back in charge of the Fed, getting interest rates back to some kind of level that reflects the risk of holding debt over time. I think the federal funds rate ought to be 3 percent or 4 percent. (It is zero to 0.25 percent.) I mean, that's normal in an economy with inflation at 2 percent or 3 percent. Q: Social Security? A: It has to be means-tested. And Medicare needs to be means-tested. If you're a more affluent retiree, you should have your benefits cut back, pay a higher premium for Medicare. Q: Taxes? A: Let the Bush tax cuts expire. Let the capital gains go back to the same rate as ordinary income. (Capital gains are taxed at 15 percent, while ordinary income is taxed at marginal rates up to 35 percent.) Q: Why? A: Why not? I mean, is return on capital any more virtuous than some guy who's driving a bus all day and working hard and trying to support his family? You know, with capital gains, they give you this mythology. You're going to encourage a bunch of more jobs to appear. No, most of capital gains goes to speculators in real estate and other assets who basically lever up companies, lever up buildings, use the current income to pay the interest and after a holding period then sell the residual, the equity, and get it taxed at 15 percent. What's so brilliant about that? Q: You worked for Blackstone, a financial services firm that focuses on leveraged buyouts and whose gains are taxed at 15 percent, then started your own buyout fund. Now you're saying there's too much debt. You were part of that debt explosion, weren't you? A: Well, yeah, and maybe you can learn something from what happens over time. I was against the debt explosion in the Reagan era. I tried to fight the deficit, but I couldn't. When I was in the private sector, I was in the leveraged buyout business. I finally learned a heck of a lot about the dangers of debt. I'm a libertarian. If someone wants to do leveraged buyouts, more power to them. If they want to have a brothel, let them run a brothel. But it doesn't mean that public policy ought to be biased dramatically to encourage one kind of business arrangement over another. And right now public policy and taxes and free money from the Fed are encouraging way too much debt, way too much speculation and not enough productive real investment and growth. Q: Why are you writing a book? A: I got so outraged by the bailouts of Wall Street in September 2008. I believed that Bush and (former Treasury Secretary Hank) Paulson were totally trashing the Reagan legacy, whatever was left, which did at least begin to resuscitate the idea of free markets and a free economy. And these characters came in and panicked and basically gave capitalism a smelly name and they made it impossible to have fiscal discipline going forward. If you're going to bail out Wall Street, what aren't you going to bail out? So that started my re-engagement, let's say, in the policy debate. Q: Are you hopeful? A: No.
Friday, March 2, 2012
For all my sports- minded friends - - - - read carefully please A football question: Last year after the Packers/ Bills game, Buffalo released quarterback Trent Edwards. During the Packers / Eagles game, the Packers injured Philadelphia quarterback Kevin Kolb. Philadelphia then had to play backup quarterback Michael Vick. During a playoff game against the Eagles, the Packers injured Michael Vick and another backup was needed. After the Packers / Cowboys game, Dallas fired Wade Phillips and most of his staff. After the Packers/ Vikings game, Minnesota fired Brad Childress and most of his staff. Four weeks after losing to the Packers, the 49er's coach Mike Singletary and most of his staff were fired and replaced. During the Bears playoff game, the Packers injured Jay Cutler and backup Todd Collins forcing the Bears to go with 3rd string quarterbackCaleb Hanie. Question: Is it just me, or did the Packers create more jobs than Obama last year?
Thursday, March 1, 2012
Last week's Security Weekly discussed the fact that terrorism is a tactic used by many different classes of actors and that, while the perpetrators and tactics of terrorism may change in response to shifts in larger geopolitical cycles, these changes will never result in the end of terrorism. Since that analysis was written, there have been jihadist-related attacks in Afghanistan, Nigeria, Yemen and Pakistan, an assassination attempt against the president of Abkhazia, and a failed timed-incendiary attack against the Athens subway. (The latter incident, which militant anarchists claimed, reinforces that jihadists are not the only ones who practice terrorism.) But while terrorism is a continuing concern, it can be understood, and measures can be taken to thwart terrorist plots and mitigate the effects of attacks. Perhaps the most important and fundamental point to understand about terrorism is that attacks do not appear out of nowhere. Individuals planning a terrorist attack follow a discernable cycle -- and that cycle and the behaviors associated with it can be observed if they are being looked for. We refer to these points where terrorism-related behavior can be most readily observed as vulnerabilities in the terrorist attack cycle. Read More » Comments? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org