WC Varones

Don't lend your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools

Bob Parsons: Absolute human sh*t

If your idea of sport is waiting around in a field for elephants to come by so you can shoot them, you'll get a kick out of (GoDaddy founder/CEO) Bob Parsons' recent trip report.

video here

I cancelled my GoDaddy domains this morning.

If a pack of wolves is going to eat somebody this week, I have a nomination.

Walmart US CEO Bill Simon says serious inflation coming

He would know.
U.S. consumers face "serious" inflation in the months ahead for clothing, food and other products, the head of Wal-Mart's U.S. operations warned Wednesday.

[...] inflation is "going to be serious," Wal-Mart U.S. CEO Bill Simon said during a meeting with USA TODAY's editorial board. "We're seeing cost increases starting to come through at a pretty rapid rate."

Along with steep increases in raw material costs, John Long, a retail strategist at Kurt Salmon, says labor costs in China and fuel costs for transportation are weighing heavily on retailers. He predicts prices will start increasing at all retailers in June.

Will start in June? We're up 1.9% in the first quarter on BPP, or a 7.8% annual rate already! You mean it's gonna get worse?

Bill Gross: the U.S. will default

Exactly as we said two and a half years ago in What comes next,
The government faces two choices: default or the slow puncture of inflation. Inflation is probably the lesser of two evils, but it's no picnic, as Argentina, Zimbabwe, and Weimar Germany can attest.
... Bill Gross has come to the realization that the U.S. can never pay its obligations in anything remotely resembling today's dollars.
[...] the only way out of the dilemma, absent very large entitlement cuts, is to default in one (or a combination) of four ways: 1) outright via contractual abrogation – surely unthinkable, 2) surreptitiously via accelerating and unexpectedly higher inflation – likely but not significant in its impact, 3) deceptively via a declining dollar– currently taking place right in front of our noses, and 4) stealthily via policy rates and Treasury yields far below historical levels – paying savers less on their money and hoping they won’t complain.

Bill Gross is an optimist. "Very large entitlement cuts" won't fix things, because GDP is dependent on consumption, and consumption is dependent on transfer payments (welfare, unemployment, Social Security, and food stamps, all of which are at or near record levels). The government is running serial deficits of 10% of GDP (~70% of government revenues!!!) just to keep consumption going.

Let's put that 70% of revenues into household terms. Your family earns $100,000 a year, and owes $442,000 on credit cards (debt held by public, 4.42x federal revenues). That's not counting the $213,000 loan you took out of your 401k (intragovernmental holdings, or IOUs in the Social Security and Medicare trust funds). And every year, you spend another $70,000 more than you earn to feed your teenage daughter's crack habit, because if Buffy ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

Now are you really going to grow your way out of that?

Now give Buffy a magic printing press that prints perfect counterfeit $100 bills. Are you beginning to see how this might end?

Dems plan to shut down government and blame it on Republicans

Here's Howard Dean, rooting for a government shutdown because he's sure the media will blame Republicans:
“If I was head of DNC, I would be quietly rooting for it,” said Dean, speaking on a National Journal Insider’s Conference panel Tuesday morning. “I know who’s going to get blamed – we’ve been down this road before.”
And here's Chuckie Schumer, caught on tape coaching his colleagues how to spin a shutdown:
\Moments before a conference call with reporters was scheduled to get underway on Tuesday morning, Charles E. Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate, apparently unaware that many of the reporters were already on the line, began to instruct his fellow senators on how to talk to reporters about the contentious budget process.

After thanking his colleagues — Barbara Boxer of California, Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, Thomas R. Carper of Delaware and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut — for doing the budget bidding for the Senate Democrats, who are facing off against the House Republicans over how to cut spending for the rest of the fiscal year, Mr. Schumer told them to portray John A. Boehner of Ohio, the speaker of the House, as painted into a box by the Tea Party, and to decry the spending cuts that he wants as extreme. “I always use the word extreme,” Mr. Schumer said. “That is what the caucus instructed me to use this week.”
Never mind that the debate is over $30 billion when we are running deficits of $1.5 trillion. So the Democrats' plan is to keep running deficits of 10% of GDP, and anyone who suggests running deficits of only 9.8% of GDP -- still in serious Greece territory and on the express train to fiscal disaster -- is "extreme." The sad thing is, they are probably right that the media will spin this their way. The mainstream media is still, as always, completely in the tank for Democrats.

Justice at work

Behold what the tireless efforts of our federal investigators and prosecutors got us:
One remedy under consideration is for the judge to tell the jury to disregard Bell's testimony regarding Bonds' testicles.
Go after the thieves at Lehman and Goldman who sank our economy and walked away with billions? Nope, not one of them will wind up in jail.

Rather, let's spend a couple million nailing Barry Bonds.

Abortion Babies Killing Social Security

Rick Santorum exemplifies much that is wrong with the Republican party including a lack of math skills, reality perception skills and legislative understanding. To wit we have this from the short bus rider:
In his latest trip to New Hampshire, Republican Rick Santorum says the Social Security system would be in much better shape if there were fewer abortions.
...
He says the system has design flaws, but the reason it is in big trouble is that there aren't enough workers to support retirees. He blamed that on what he called the nation's abortion culture. He says that culture, coupled with policies that do not support families, deny America what it needs - more people.
As I asked questions of Obama in my previous post I will stay consistent:
  1. Ricky, what's the unemployment rate right now? 9.8% based on BLS lies/>20% based on say Shadowstats right. Now lets say X number of babies hadn't been aborted 20+ years ago. Would that unemployment rate increase or decrease? I realize logic isn't your strong suit so please ask a staffer to go get someone to help.
  2. The Social Security system is a Ponzi scheme. Do you realize that that is a bad thing? Also are you aware that the Social Security system is filled with IOUs from the government borrowing on what was there so it doesn't really matter how many people are contributing to it now, it's still broke? You can have one of your staffers have someone help them read all about it here.
  3. Finally can you please provide data to support your claim that Social Security would be so much better off?
See the Democrats have the environment, the Republicans have abortion. They are the core issues that get voters to vote for candidates based on 1 issue. You could march Pol Pot out as a candidate for either party and if he promised to support the 1 issue one holds near and dear he'd get a percentage of the votes guaranteed. One could disagree with 99 out of 100 other issues but as long as he supported the environment/banned abortion, he'd get votes.

Rick Santorum is doing exactly what our criminal kleptocracy wants him to do. He's harping on emotional issues that are important but have little importance in the scheme of a successful government. Worse he's somehow blaming Roe v. Wade for our budget problems. That's incredibly absurd. I arrogantly maintain spending more than what is brought in for the budget problems. But then I'm more of a numbers guy, not a feelings guy like the Rickster.

Dealing With Difficult Stains

From Bloomberg:
President Barack Obama said the U.S. and its allies had to take military action in Libya to avert a massacre of civilians that would have “stained the conscience of the world.”

So that's why our Nobel Peace Prize winning President performed this latest Presidential act of treason, by violating the Constitution of the United States of America, by attacking a country without the approval of Congress. I get it. I just have a couple of questions?

What about Darfur? Was that not a stain on the consciousness of the world? Were we out of Oxy Clean at the time? It's 300,000+ deaths, but these weren't oil based so the stain wasn't difficult, is that it?

What about Bahrain? They were invaded by Saudi Arabia yet there was not a peep out of the stain removing world? When this happened to Kuwait there was UPROAR that this country of millionaires and billionaires was having their sovereignty destroyed. But Bahrain is like Vegas for the Persian Gulf so we don't care (BTW, I care Zeke).

And how about Yemen, Syria, the Ivory Coast, etc, etc, etc Mr. World Police???

And how about the President asking the UN, not the folks that elected him mind you, if he could wage war on Libya? And then coming out and saying he didn't want to depose Qaddafi?!?

If we tried to overthrow Gadhafi by force, our coalition would splinter," he predicted...

"To be blunt, we went down that road in Iraq," he said — a road that took eight years to travel. "That is not something we can afford to repeat in Libya."

SAY WHAT?! You drop bombs on a country but intend to keep the leader intact?!? Oh that has winner written all over it! I hated Iraq but at least that was decisive. We played to win the initial war (forget that there was no chance of winning over the population from the start) but at least it wasn't a "police action" like this appears to be.

I guess I'm just really glad for 1 thing: it's a Democrat that's doing this because if GW or any Republican had done the exact same thing, which I would also have despised, I risked having my commute interrupted by war protests by people who hate war when it's waged by someone they don't like. When war is waged by Nobel Peace Prize winners though, the silence is deafening; and my commute is lovely.

America, Land of the FreeLitigious Pussies

The other day your correspondent was driving in the terrain west of Las Vegas and happened upon a stable offering horseback-riding to the public.

I saw a group of riders headed off into the hills, and decided to inquire within.

The cowboy in the office gave me a brochure and a rundown of the prices. "Are they all walks, or can you run the horses?"

"No no. Twenty years ago you could just take a horse and go. Now, with all the lawyers and insurance, pretty much nobody will let you run anymore."

In the spring of 2005 I made a similar discovery in Australia; because of "public indemnity" (a system of forced government insurance), things like kayaking and horseback-riding had become expensive, highly regulated, and as un-fun as possible. It was guides and helmets for everything, and anything bordering on risky was a no-no. No joking: you couldn't just rent a kayak at Byron Bay, you had to sign up for a guided, helmeted tour.

And so it goes. We cry for government to protect us, and don't make a murmur as they eviscerate our freedoms.

Think of the things you could do in the 1970s that you can't now. Streak a football game? Used to be a funny prank; now you're a sex offender. Ride in the back of a pickup? That was fun for us rural kids; now it's a phone call to Child Protective Services. Rent three-wheelers to go off-roading? Those don't even exist anymore. Speak out against your government? There's a DHS database for you, pal.

You are perfectly free, however, to sit on your couch and watch NFL. Keep going to work, keep paying your mortgage, and keep ordering plastic goods from China. The ruling class is f'ing loving it. You're feathering their nests.

You're also free to get in line and remain silent while the government agent gropes your wife and peeps your kid.

These things, friends, you are free to do.

Anarchy in the UK

Austerity riots hit London.

Was your global bubble still worth it, Dr. Greenspan? And how much longer before the riots hit our shores?

Inside Job

I finally watched Inside Job, the Oscar-winning documentary on the Wall Street - Washington corruption that caused the financial crisis. Some conservatives have complained that the filmmaker, Charles Ferguson, is a lefty who minimizes Fannie and Freddie's role in the housing bubble, and overemphasizes "deregulation." These are fair but minor points (Ferguson also gets in a gratuitous shot at the Bush tax cuts). The overwhelming theme of the film is that Wall Street, Washington, and economic academia are all thoroughly corrupt and are enriching themselves at our expense. And the case is made airtight. Ferguson rightly attacks all of the key players: Paulson, Greenspan, Bernanke, Rubin, Mozilo, Fuld, etc. And he pulls no punches in excoriating Obama's failure to deliver on reform promises: "it's a Wall Street government."

The film's narrated conclusion: For decades, the American financial system was stable and safe. But then something changed. The financial industry turned its back on society, corrupted our political system, and plunged the world economy into crisis. At enormous cost, we've avoided disaster and are recovering, but the men and institutions that caused the crisis are still in power, and that needs to change. They will tell us that we need them, and that what they do is too complicated for us to understand. They will tell us it won't happen again. They will spend billions fighting reform. It won't be easy. But some things are worth fighting for.

I cannot recommend Inside Job highly enough, especially as a great introduction for those who don't follow this stuff as closely as some of us do. Order it here, and if you have friends and family who don't understand how we were robbed, send them copies too.
.

Four more years! Four more years!

Huckabee leads GOP field.

Rebecca Black, via lip readers

If you don't know who Rebecca Black is, you're probably an angry old conservative who reads political/economic blogs all day.

If you do know who she is, you'll enjoy this.

Charles Plosser on Federal Reserve exit strategy

I haven't had a chance to read this yet, but Philly Fedhead Charles Plosser has the markets freaking out (dollar up, Treasuries down) right now with talk of an exit strategy.

You know my thoughts. There is No Exit. How does the Fed dump more than a trillion dollars of bonds into a rising interest rate, high unemployment, 10% GDP deficit environment? How does Obama finance his deficits?

03 25 11 Shadow Open Market Committee

Sesame Street bigotry exposed!

David Stockman on how the Fed destroyed America

It's really gratifying when a respected establishment figure such as former Reagan budget director David Stockman comes along and validates everything this crazy blogger has been saying about the Dirty Fed and the Wall Street - Washington kleptocracy.

Here's Stockman on how loose monetary policy killed capitalism and gave birth to today's crony kleptocracy:
Viewed more broadly, the carnage on Wall Street in September 2008 was the inevitable crash of a 40-year financial bubble spawned by the Fed after Nixon closed the gold window in August 1971. As time passed, the Fed's market-rigging and money-printing actions had become increasingly destructive — leaving the banking system ever more unstable and populated with a growing bevy of Too Big to Fail institutions.

The 1984 rescue of Continental Illinois; the 1994 Mexican peso crisis bailouts; the Fed's 1998 life-support operation for LTCM — were all just steps along the way to the fall of 2008.

Then, faced with the collapse of their own handiwork, Washington panicked and joined the Fed in unleashing an indiscriminate bailout capitalism that has now thoroughly corrupted the halls of government, even as it has become a debilitating blight on the free market.

In this context, the linkage between printing-press money and fiscal profligacy merits special attention. In the post-TARP world, there remain no fiscal rules at all, and already we have had cash for clunkers, cash for caulkers, and under the homebuyer's credit, cash for convicts.

Indeed, my belief is that the subprime meltdown was only a warm-up. The real financial widow-maker of the present era is likely to be US government debt itself.

The sheer budgetary facts are bracing enough. It needs be recalled that fiscal year 2011, now underway, will encompass not a recession bottom but the sixth-through-ninth quarter of recovery. During this interval of purported rebound, however, the White House now projects red ink of $1.645 trillion. This means that 43 cents on every dollar spent will be borrowed, thereby generating a financing requirement just shy of 11 percent of national income.

These elephantine figures mark a big lurch southward — since deficits only half this size were expected for the current year as recently as last spring. Notwithstanding a full year of green shoots and booming stocks, however, Washington embraced a monumental round of new fiscal stimulus in December.

The result was a trillion-dollar Christmas tree festooned with fiscal largesse for every citizen — inclusive of the quick as well as the dead. Moreover, this bounty was extended without prejudice to each and every social class — with workers, the unemployed, the middle class, the merely rich, and billionaires, too, getting a share.

It would be foolish in the extreme to dismiss this budgetary eruption as a fit of transient exuberance — even if by the president's own admission the White House was in a shellacked state of mind, and in no position to restrain December's bipartisan stampede. In fact, the United States is clocking a 10-percent-of-GDP deficit for the third year running because this latest budgetary fling is just another episode in the epochal collapse of US financial discipline that began 40 years ago at Camp David.

That the demise of the gold standard should have been as destructive of fiscal discipline as it was of monetary probity can hardly be gainsaid. Under the ancient regime of fixed exchange rates and currency convertibility, fiscal deficits without tears were simply not sustainable — no matter what errant economic doctrines lawmakers got into their heads.

(Fellow graduates of the public school system: "gainsaid" means "denied.")

Click on over and read the whole thing.

Biden: Impeach Obama!



The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

- Senator Barack Obama, December 20, 2007.

Internship Opportunities at the OMB

The White House is offering an internship program at the OMB for a well qualified graduate. The role will be titled Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget. The administration has put forward a candidate for this position and you can see her testifying in front of congress here:

Also she has taken some viewer emails regarding fantastic programs which can be seen here while she was doing another internship as the Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council:

I came across these videos at the excellent media blog dailybail.com. Their commentary about this candidate nails it:
This has nothing to do with politics; Republicans and Democrats are equal budgetary failures as decades of evidence demonstrates. But wrong is wrong. And this nomination is an embarrassment. The most crucial time in our nation's budget history and Obama nominates a political hack with no budget experience sporting a degree from the University of Rochester and a Masters in public policy from George Washington. She worked for John Kerry for 8 years before joining Obama's campaign. She began her career as an advocate for public schools.
I can only add my disappointment that she didn't more often respond using the word 'like'.

One-man food riot hits Texas

WNYT via ZeroHedge: Days Of (Inflationary) Rage Are Here: Man Goes On Shooting Rampage After Learning Taco Bell Hikes Prices On Beefy Crunch Burrito By 50%
Police say a San Antonio Taco Bell customer enraged that the seven burritos he ordered had gone up in price fired an air gun at an employee and later fired an assault rifle at officers before barricading himself into a hotel room.

San Antonio police Sgt. Chris Benavides says officers used tear gas Sunday night to force the man from the hotel room after a three-hour standoff. The man is charged with three counts of attempted capital murder. Authorities have not released his name.

Brian Tillerson, a manager at the Taco Bell/KFC restaurant, told the San Antonio Express-News that the man was angry the Beefy Crunch Burrito had gone from 99 cents to $1.49 each.

War

"To walk the road of peace, sometimes we have to be ready to climb the mountain of conflict"
As we open a 3rd front in the Middle East I wonder, do Democrats like war when our Nobel Peace Prize winning president is waging it? What would the reaction be if GW had been the one to attack?

Now my personal opinion on this is that we're broke, we have no money to open a 3rd front, nor to maintain fronts in Iraq and Afghanistan. To consider otherwise is childish.

But I understand the administration's need for distraction. We knew that war was likely, that war was needed so that the American population wouldn't pay attention to the criminal theft and destruction of the United States as a democracy. War bailed us out of the first Great Depression and our ruling class is hoping it will work a second time around.

This is all a farce. We prop up evil dictatorships and then when our money printing causes the people to literally starve in those countries, we attack. How absurd and hypocritical the United States has become. And the lack of respect for human life is galling. But as long as Goldman, JP Morgan and Citi can now pay taxpayer financed dividends, its all good.

Secretary of State is Fed Up with President's Indecision on Libya. Obama's connections to Gaddafi outlined.

Continuing on the Libya subject from the previous post, by Old Zeke, we have excerpts (below) from this report from TheDaily.com. Who knows if this is just Hillary grandstanding or posturing, or if she just doesn't have the same sympathy for and indirect connections to Gadhafi (who himself has publicly "friended" Obama) as the the President does? Perhaps she wasn't in on the $77 million dollar sale of Armored Troop carriers to Gaddafi's army that Obama was in the middle of conducting just 2 months ago, when suddenly the Libyan rebels started causing a stir and changing the political dynamics on Libya for the President. Perhaps she's simply not getting advice from the same people Obama reportedly does on Libya. Obama's long time minister, Rev. Wright and Louis Farrakhan at least once paid a joint, personal, friendly visit to Gadhafi in Lybia, and reportedly came home with lots of money. Obama's Chicago Trinity United Church of Christ even gave a Lifetime Achievement award to Mr. Farrakhan, declaring him a man who "truly epitomized greatness". And now, back to Hillary Clinton's and Europe's frustrations with Obama on Libya:

At the tail end of her mission to bolster the Libyan opposition, which has suffered days of losses to Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s forces, Clinton announced that she’s done with Obama after 2012 — even if he wins again.

“Obviously, she’s not happy with dealing with a president who can’t decide if today is Tuesday or Wednesday, who can’t make his mind up,” a Clinton insider told The Daily. “She’s exhausted, tired.”

He went on, “If you take a look at what’s on her plate as compared with what’s on the plates of previous Secretary of States — there’s more going on now at this particular moment, and it’s like playing sports with a bunch of amateurs. And she doesn’t have any power. She’s trying to do what she can to keep things from imploding.”

Clinton is said to be especially peeved with the president’s waffling over how to encourage the kinds of Arab uprisings that have recently toppled regimes in Egypt and Tunisia, and in particular his refusal to back a no-fly zone over Libya.

In the past week, former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton’s former top adviser Anne-
Marie Slaughter lashed out at Obama for the same reason.

The tension has even spilled over into her dealings with European diplomats, with whom she met early this week.

When French president Nicolas Sarkozy urged her to press the White House to
take more aggressive action in Libya, Clinton repeatedly replied only, “There are difficulties,” according to Foreign Policy magazine.

“Frankly we are just completely puzzled,” one of the diplomats told Foreign
Policy magazine. “We are wondering if this is a priority for the United States.”

Or as the insider described Obama’s foreign policy shop:
“It’s amateur night.”

Clinton revealed her desire to leave yesterday in an interview with CNN’s
Wolf Blitzer, responding four times to his questions about whether she would
accept a post during a potential second Obama administration with a single word: “No.”

Obama himself made light of her strong feelings for supporting the opposition in a speech last week at the Gridiron Club Dinner, an annual gathering that traditionally features a stand-up comedy act by the president.


"I’ve dispatched Hillary to the Middle East to talk about how these countries can transition to newleaders — though, I’ve got to be honest, she’s gotten a little passionate about the subject,” Obama said to laughter from the audience. These past few weeks it's been tough falling asleep with Hillary out there on Pennsylvania Avenue shouting, throwing rocks at the window."

That's how we roll

Interesting how the U.S. picks its fights. Saddam was a defiant dictator who posed no real threat, and we sank our country to oust him. Gadhafi is a puppet dictator who is actively slaughtering his own citizens, and we sit on our thumbs.
Britain announced that it would send fighter jets and France was making plans to deploy planes, but the U.S. had yet to announce what its role would be. NATO also held an emergency meeting.

That's what happens when you blow your cred in Iraq--you can't fight when you should.

The Cost of Living in U.S. is Now At an All Time High

The Cost of Living in the United States has risen since the 2008 financial crisis, and is now at an all-time high.

After all the President's attempts to improve things, it is currently more expensive to live in the United States than it ever has been. Ever. The news media and the President keep telling us that things are getting so much better all the time. Isn't that just the perfect case of "Nothing to see here"? Well, how about looking at some Consumer Price Index data?

Things that make me embarrassed to be white

This is painful:



And a pretty awesome response:

NPR Listeners Gone Wild!

Just your regular, Volvo-driving, NPR-listening, latte-sipping, northeastern liberal.
A Maine man has been jailed on federal charges that he threatened to kill or harm two of the hosts of “All Things Considered,” the popular National Public Radio news program, The Smoking Gun has learned.

[...]

During a search of Crosby’s Volvo station wagon following his bust, FBI agents found a shotgun and shells in the vehicle, according to court records.

[...]

According to an affidavit sworn by FBI Agent Nathan Jacobs, Crosby sent more than 20 bizarre, and often threatening, messages to NPR via a “Contact Us” form on the organization’s web site. Many of the messages--which were sent during a two-month period ending with Crosby’s arrest--“referenced ‘kikes’ and contained other generalized threats directed toward NPR,” Jacobs noted.

But it was a January 17 message that prompted NPR officials to contact federal investigators. In that communication, Crosby allegedly threatened to kill “All Things Considered” host Melissa Block, whom he described as “an annoying *unt who is helping to destroy me to use me as a human sacrifice. She will be raped, beaten, tortured, and murdered very soon.” Agents traced the threat to an IP associated with a Starbucks location on Congress Street in Portland.

Then there was the San Francisco "Price is Right" reject who took a fake bomb to the law offices of Leiff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, best known for its advertisements on local NPR affiliate KQED. Any guesses where he got the idea to go to that particular firm?

How come you never hear about Rush Limbaugh listeners or Glenn Beck listeners doing stuff like this? Are NPR listeners nuts already, or are they incited by NPR's hate rhetoric?

If you've got Volvos with NPR bumper stickers in your neighborhood, keep the kids away from those people. And don't ever make them angry.

Beware Keynesian Witchcraft

I am astonished and appalled by this front that has developed in the MSM claiming that the Japan earthquake might be a good thing for the economy. Just the kick start we need to get going because all those people who lost everything, including their family members, will need to replenish. As if all it takes is the need to spend to make economies strong.

And you do realize the ultimate Keynesian level of hell right? First you print, print, print and when that doesn't work, you print some more, OR look for another way to get people to spend. Hmmmmmm, how do we get people to buy things? I KNOW, DESTROY WHAT THEY HAVE! This earthquake was a glimpse into the black heart that is the Keynesian and it's showing us that these folks are probably willing to do anything to get that Keynesian kick start. The death of lives, well as long as it's not worse than the impact on the economy right Larry Kudlow?

Zerohedge posted a far more eloquent rebuke on the topic by Sean Corrigan:
...But, even were we to subscribe to this myth of secular slump, the idea that to eradicate a large quantum of people's possessions or to evaporate a sizeable fraction of their nest-eggs would be to contribute to their prosperity is to reckon that in futilely striving to heft his rock up the hill for all eternity, Sisyphus was the most tireless 'engine of growth' for Hades at large.

If you go to the trouble of cooking yourself a dinner, only for the dog to snatch it from the sill where you placed it to cool, do you congratulate yourself on your own good fortune as you troop back to the larder to begin again? If a sudden hailstorm strips bare the groaning ears of your wheat crop the day before you were due to harvest it, do you cheerily go about preparing the field for replanting, content in the knowledge that your doubled labour is being duly recorded in the plus column by a mindless government data-gatherer?

After all, if the awful spectacle of vast swathes of land littered with shattered buildings and crumpled vehicles—or the concern that they suffer the invisible hazards of radioactive contamination—offers such grand opportunities for advancement, why stop there?

Why wait for the vagaries of the climate, or the tortured creaking of continental plates to bring about such a 'stimulus' to growth? Why not declare war on ourselves and unleash our titanic arsenals of destruction on our own towns and cities, and rain down hellfire upon our own farms and gardens, razing the first to the ground and sowing the last with salt, until we make a self-inflicted Carthage of them, one in whose midst we can hope to become rapidly richer than our neighbours as, shivering and starving, we pick our way among the debris of our former civilisation to the nearest construction site?

This is all such arrant nonsense that you should banish from your consideration, henceforth and forever, all of the jejune scribblings of the fool whom you once catch propounding it!

Maybe Bernanke should have studied some American history other than the Great Depression

Like the Civil War:
In response to these problems, [the Confederate] Congress came to rely increasingly on the resource it had created in March: Treasury notes. Paper money had several advantages. It didn’t infringe on the sovereignty of the states. It provided a way to avoid taxes and to compensate for the Confederacy’s lack of capital, at least temporarily. And it spared the South the more painful task of building a sound financing structure — a task that might require difficult decisions about the Confederate system’s shortcomings.

The value these notes generated couldn’t be sustained forever, though. As their quantity grew, so would inflation. As paper came to shoulder the bulk of the Confederacy’s costs, its inevitable depreciation greatly undermined the Southern effort. The war couldn’t be funded on faith alone. It required real revenue, something the deliberately decentralized Confederacy wasn’t designed to deliver.

Sound familiar?

Beware the Ides of March

History shows again and again
How nature points out the folly of men

Oh, no! There goes Tokyo!


Housing: a horrible investment until we get inflation

Well, it's been more than a year since I put on the Zimbabwe Ben trade, buying a house I knew was overpriced in order to take advantage of the Federal Reserve's destruction of the dollar.

How's that working out? I'm spending roughly double the rental value on mortgage, property taxes, insurance, and maintenance. The house has lost another 5% - 10% in value, judging by recent comps. Transaction costs are around 2% on the buy side and at least 5% on the sell side. Zimbabwe Ben has managed to drive up the price of everything -- stocks, oil, food, gold -- except houses. Who would have thought that buying a house so long after the housing crash would still be such a bad trade?

I'm still confident that controlled demolition of the dollar is the only way forward with the government deficit spending 10% of GDP every year, and the economy still far too dependent on huge fiscal and monetary stimulus. There's no way that's going to be paid back in today's dollars. But waiting for dollar destruction is costly for those who bought too early, and didn't pay enough attention to valuation.

UPDATE: Maybe I spoke too soon.

Are they psychic?

It's pretty impressive how online merchants can pinpoint the sort of things you're interested in. Take, for example, these two emails I got from Amazon.com.

March 9:
Subject: Your Amazon.com order of "Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens" has shipped!
March 11:
Subject: Amazon.com recommends "Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens" and more

May 21st Reminder

There are a number of billboards around the Bay Area bringing the cheery news that May 21st, 2011 is it, done, sayonara....End of Days. It's being brought to you by the friendly folks at Family Radio.

The graphic on their web page is telling. If I'm from Siam, Belgium, Jamaica, Canada, the UN, or Nigeria (can't tell that last one), I'd be sh!tting my pants on that day. "WAIT, ARE WE FIRST?!?"


Now the Bible may guarantee it but what does Harry Potter have to say on the issue?

The brighter side of having an aloof, incompetent president

... it forces other countries to do all the tough foreign policy stuff.

And, really, haven't we had enough foreign policy for a while? Can't we just be like Canada and ignore everybody and have everybody ignore us?

I'm looking at you, Bernanke

"It's frightening to think that you might not know something, but more frightening to think that, by and large, the world is run by people who have faith that they know exactly what's going on." --Amos Tversky

Bill Gross puts his money where his mouth is

... and that ain't in Timmy the Tax Cheat Treasuries.

We pointed out last month that the world's biggest bond fund manager said Treasuries are for suckers. Now we learn that he has sold every last Treasury bond from his fund. This is a truly gargantuan bet against U.S. Treasuries.

If the world's biggest bond fund manager won't touch the $1 trillion-plus in new issuance every year, to say nothing of rolling maturing debt, who's going to buy Timmy's junk when the Dirty Fed stops its QE2 monetization? That debt ain't gonna monetize itself, you know.

De-fund NPR now!

We had a little local run-in with NPR last year when the local affiliate, KPBS, thought it might be cute to ask, "Are Tea Partiers Hate Groups [sic]?"

Now the head honchos at NPR tell us what they really think of both the Tea Party and Republicans:
"Radical", "racist", "Islamophobic", "xenophobic", "white", "middle-America", "gun-toting" and a couple more "racist" just to make sure the liberal-Left pejorative tool box had been completely emptied.
Why are tax dollars still going to fund this arrogant, elitist, slandering, and blatantly partisan organization? But the bigger question is, why does America have a state-sponsored media in the first place?

Great American Ponzi update

February budget deficit is largest monthly deficit in history, and much bigger than the entire year's deficit in 2007. If this is a recovery, why are we still running deficits at a Greece-like 10% of GDP, and why are the deficits still getting worse?

Charlie Sheen: Torpedoes of Truth

The gap between image and self-image has never been greater.



We've seen celebrity meltdowns before. But I think this is the first live, voluntary webcast of a celebrity meltdown. You'd feel sorry for him if he weren't such a narcissist.

Obama: Supporting dictators til it's no longer politically convenient

Even Congress thought this stunk too badly, and that's a high bar:
In the months before Libyans revolted and President Barack Obama told leader Moammar Gadhafi to go, the U.S. government was moving to do business with his regime on an increasing scale by quietly approving a $77 million dollar deal to deliver at least 50 refurbished armored troop carriers to the dictator's military.

Congress balked, concerned the deal would improve Libyan army mobility and questioning the Obama administration's support for the agreement...

I wonder if Obama would turn on his banker buddies as quickly as he turns on his murdering dictator buddies. Luckily the American sheeppeople aren't forcing his hand the way the Libyans did.

High five, guys...say, I've got an opening over at Treasury. Anybody interested?

TSA identifies Gerber - Al Qaeda Alliance

In the latest TSA absurdness, I again was regretfully required to use flight as my family's means of transportation from the Bay Area to Chicago. Traveling with a 1 year old requires that we bring certain items that may or may not be a threat to the security of this great nation. Cases in point - Gerber Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal and Silk Very Vanilla soy milk.

Yes dear friends our heroes at the TSA are johnny-on-the-spot when it comes to potential threats to this nation. In this episode of heroism, the TSA superwoman wiped my just purchased from Jewel-Osco food items with her magic white round disk and put it into her super accurate WMD detector and low and behold, those 2 items were flagged as threats to every man, woman and child on EARTH!

This meant 20 minutes of unpacking our bag with all of the stuff for both our kids while of course having to placate our kids while we stood there, doing nothing, and watched. Oddly to SuperTSALady, nothing was found because I'm not a terrorist and I have no desire to do harm to anyone. Yet this TSA goddess did her best to protect us and in the end said "this was for your protection."

Now I of course won't subscribe to the notion that their equipment is a joke and what they do is almost useless, that would be unpatriotic. I want to actually suggest a much more reasonable alternative:

Obviously the TSA has uncovered a massive conspiracy between Jewel-Osco, Silk, Gerber and Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda slipped up in their packaging of WMD's among the distribution of these products and we all can thank the TSA for the smack down of these evil corporations that is to come. Thank you TSA!
Now watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical,
liberal, fanatical, criminal.
Won't you sign up your name, we'd like to feel you're
acceptable, respectable, presentable, a vegetable!

Penny wise, pound foolish

George Mason law students take on six figures of debt for a law degree with no job prospects, then bitch about the $136 graduation gown rental.

Today in San Diego

Gas prices are up 16 cents -- 4%!!! -- in three days from what looked like a shocking price then.

Thank you, Zimbabwe Ben!

You people better learn to ride a bike pretty soon unless you get paid in silver.

Silver is the new honey badger

... and Blythe Masters is the cobra.

Look at this silver. It's badass.



It blows through $35 like it doesn't even give a sh__.

The Crazy Honey Badger

Greenspan's Body Count: Jeffrey Locker

Even as Zimbabwe Ben steals the headlines by setting off global food riots, serial killer Alan Greenspan just won't give up the spotlight.

Self-help author Jeffrey Locker helped himself to the services of homeless man Kenneth Minor. Locker, you see, had a debt problem. And being "murdered" by Minor would allow his family to cash in an $18 million life insurance policy.

The Daily Mail:
Even the prosecution agreed that Locker, 52, had orchestrated his own death - but the trial became a matter of whether Minor had been hired to kill Locker as a hitman, or whether he was hired to assist in Locker's suicide.

[...]

According to Minor's statement to police, Locker had approached him and offered him money to kill him and make it look like a robbery so his family could collect as much as $18 million in life insurance.

Locker's business was on its knees. In the wake of the recession bookings slumped and he maxed out his $16,000 credit card limit.

In the six months before his death his savings fell from $86,000 to $5,800.

He had a large mortgage and was on the verge of declaring bankruptcy after losing $400,000 in a Ponzi scheme run by boy-band impresario Louis Perlman, the mastermind of 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys.

He was facing a federal bankruptcy court trustee's demands to return at least $121,200 the court said he had made from his stake in Perlman's enterprise.

Locker felt trapped. Aged 52, everything he had worked for was about to fall apart.

Going bankrupt he would have lost his name, his wealth and his standing among all those who knew him in New Jersey.

The prospect of dragging the entire family into the gutter could have proved too much for him to handle.

Defence lawyers have said that his death had been an elaborate plan to defraud insurance companies, having taken out policies worth $14million.

This stuff wouldn't happen if people didn't get in over their heads in debt. If you don't have debt, you can survive the business downturns and other bumps in the road. But debt makes a downturn fatal.

The next time somebody tries to get you to take on debt for a house, or a business proposition, or an overpriced college degree, or a spending spree, ask yourself, "Is this thing worth killing myself over?"

Greenspan's Body Count stands at 153:

Jeffrey Locker
Angela Singleton
Michael L. Cour
Janice Gervais
Darrin Hale
Paul Grothe
Eddie Bryant
Stacey Bryant
Jayne Peters
Corinne Peters
Wayne Zickefoose
Herminia Zickefoose
Thomas S. Piazza
Troy Fogel
Michele Fogel
Cynthia Dunn Cannon
Jocelyn Earnest
Lynda Clark
Gregory Bellows
Sallie Gist
Rayshawn Reed
Byron Reed Sr.
Byron Reed Jr.
Elisha Gist
Elijah Gist
Tiera Davidson
Christopher Oetting
Neal Jacobson
Franki Jacobson
Eric Jacobson
Joshua Jacobson
Vincenza Garcia
Bill Sparkman
Debra K. Gibbs
Otis Beckford
Carol Kennedy
Diane Ward
Edith Moreno
Diana Moreno
Scott Peters
Tom Blackmore
Kevin Daniel O'Connell
Julie Fay
Wallis Fay
Siu Fong Ng
Ernest Scherer Jr.
Charlene Abendroth
J.D. Wood
Cynthia Wood
Aubrey Wood
Dillon Wood
Betty J. Lipply
Dwight Deely
Linda Patrick
David Kellerman
Christopher Wood
Francie Billotti-Wood
Chandler Wood
Gavin Wood
Fiona Wood
Gil Weber
Gregory Graham
Randolph Graham
David Kelley
Ramona woman
Del Mar man
Wayne "Mike" Anderson
Jeffrey M. Pearson
Ervin Antonio Lupoe
Ana Lupoe
Brittney Lupoe
Jaszmin Lupoe
Jassely Lupoe
Benjamin Lupoe
Christian Lupoe
Steven L. Good
Adolf Merckle
Mike Upham
Randy Motts
Kristy Hunt
Joseph Nesheiwat
Tom Brisch
Alex Widmer
Brian Pugh
Marilyn Lewis
Sid Agrawal
Kirk Stephenson
Barry Fox
Dallas Dwayne Carter
David Hetzel
Sharron Hetzel
Cliff Kendall
Pamela Ross
Roland Gore
Mrs. Gore
Wanda Dunn
Karthik Rajaram
Subasri Rajaram
Krishna Rajaram
Ganesha Rajaram
Arjuna Rajaram
Indra Ramasesham
Joe X
Isabelle Jarka
Robert Wagner
Lt. Michael Howe
John Roberts
Palmer C. White
Dianne Pittman White
Ed Boesen
Edwin F. Rachleff
Carlene Balderrama
Troy VanderStelt
Scott M. Coles
Dawn E. Armstrong
Thomas Lizotte
Jonathon Calvin "40-Cal" Jacques
Salvador X
Lupe X
Jade X
Little Boy X
Little Girl X
Kashmir Billon
Bill McMurtry

Lisa McMurtry
James Hahn
Raymond Donaca
Deanna Donaca
[redacted]
[redacted]
Michel Veillette
Nadya Ferrari-Veillette
Marguerite Veillette
Vincent Veillette
Mia Veillette
Jacob Veillette
Maurice Pereira
Natasha Pereira
Mark Achilli
Raed Al-Farah
Andrew Kissel
Rufus Shaw Jr.
Lynn Flint Shaw
Mr. Pierce
Walter Buczynksi
Marci Buczynski
Jason Washington

That enterprising spirit

Instead of whining about the economy and signing up for unemployment checks, some folks are demonstrating some good old-fashioned work ethic:
ILL DO ANYTHING FOR MONEY just about

yeah so if you need any one hurt or need something moved out or just what every pay me and ill do it
ill work for weed too im drastic i need the gas money

Mamas don't let your babies work nightclubs in Vegas

The Light Group is one of the most powerful names in Vegas entertainment, with A-list clubs at Bellagio, Aria, and other MGM properties. So what's it like for a girl to work there?
Several former employees are now behind a former cocktail waitress who says The Light Group encourages its workers to take drugs, drink alcohol, and perform sexual favors.
...
The lawsuit alleges The Light Group grooms underage women to work at its nightclubs. Managers allegedly furnish workers with cocaine and train the girls to be sexually provocative. Marquis says it’s all done to please big spenders.

Well sure it's unusual, but they could just leave if they don't like it, right?

If you're a girl making $1,000+ a night, are you going to say no to your bosses when the alternative is a $10-an-hour job somewhere else?

Incidentally, I knew a girl at The Bank who didn't play along with the sexual pressures two or three years ago. Guess who suddenly started getting written up for minor slip-ups and eventually got fired?

It's a dirty world, friends, and you're living in it. Don't support these sh*tty businesses.

GAO report: the entire U.S. government is one big clusterf*&^

I think that's a technical term from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

WSJ:
The U.S. government has 15 different agencies overseeing food-safety laws, more than 20 separate programs to help the homeless and 80 programs for economic development.

These are a few of the findings in a massive study of overlapping and duplicative programs that cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year, according to the Government Accountability Office.

A report from the nonpartisan GAO, to be released Tuesday, compiles a list of redundant and potentially ineffective federal programs, and it could serve as a template for lawmakers in both parties as they move to cut federal spending and consolidate programs to reduce the deficit. Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), who pushed for the report, estimated it identifies between $100 billion and $200 billion in duplicative spending. The GAO didn't put a specific figure on the spending overlap
.

And the Democrats are acting like it's the end of the world to cut $60 billion off a $1.5 trillion deficit.

Zimbabwe Ben comes for the working class



How's that $4 gas working for you, commuters? Wanna go for $5?

Ben does.
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