WC Varones

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

Are you better off than you were four years ago?



Gold is.



Obamanomics has been hell on the working and middle classes, but it has worked out just fine for gold owners.

Greenspan's Body Count: Chris Lighty

Damn, it ain't easy bein' a gangster living beyond your means.

Today's episode of Greenspan's Body Count is superstar hip-hop manager Chris Lighty.  New York Daily News:
Law enforcement sources said Lighty’s wife of seven years told police he was facing financial woes that include a $5 million debt to the IRS. However, The Associated Press reported that Lighty paid off most of what he owed by selling a Manhattan apartment for $5.6 million in October.

Lighty still owed more than $330,000 in state and federal taxes, the AP reported. And in April, he was sued by City National Bank for not paying them after he had overdrawn his account by $53,584.
HT: IPFreely

A friendly tip from W.C. Varones: if you suddenly find yourself enjoying incredible financial success, don't party like it will last forever. Pay your taxes, don't take on debt, and put aside at least 20% just in case you hit tougher times later in life.

Greenspan's Body Count stands at 228.

Republicans, you are doomed

Note, again, this is Zeke writing.  Chairman Varones may offer a countering opinion.

I just watched the first half of Paul Ryan's speech, a day after the fact.  That's all I could stand.  My thoughts:

1) This is the f'ing guy people are so excited about?  He seems like every bright, ambitious, phony asshole I ever went to law school with.

In 2004, a friend and I, while watching young Obama speak at the Democratic Convention, agreed, "This guy is going to be President some day."

Suffice it to say, Paul Ryan is no Barack Obama when it comes to charisma (or probably even principles--see below).  If B.O. has an over-reliance on teleprompters, at least he's smooth enough with the delivery.  Ryan seems to throw in what he considers to be the appropriate expression for a line after he's finished it.  That was a laugh line--a smirk would do nicely here!

2) How does this guy say "We have to stop spending money we don't have" for big applause, and spend the rest of the speech attacking Obama for threatening Medicaid?  We're the party of fiscal responsibility, you see, but we won't let those rascals touch your entitlements.

3) Is this convention 98% white or is that a trick of shot selection?  Hmm...here's a wide shot of the auditorium...and...um, yep, it really is 98% white.  Your demographic is getting old and dying, amigos.  (That means "friends," for you English-only types.)

4) If you can't make a case out of the disastrous truth of the last four years, your ability to make a case through half-truths and utter b.s. will not save you.  Already the anecdotes from Ryan's speech (the shuttered GM plant, for one) have been shot to pieces.

For trying to unseat a miserable incumbent, these guys make Kerry/Edwards look like a dream team.

Four more years! Four more years! 




Pathetic

Check out how America's finest newspaper chose to present Paul Ryan this morning. I don't even like Republicans (Note: this is Zeke writing; W.C.'s partial hard-on remains intact), but this is an embarrassment to anybody who values honest journalism.

They could hardly have stooped lower if they'd hired Jill Greenberg to cover the event.

Bernanke wants old people to eat dog food

Glenn Reynolds in USA Today:
Some years ago, when earning say 5% on your money was realistic, a $360,000 portfolio of CDs would produce $18,000 a year in interest — that's $1500 a month. Couple that with an unexceptional Social Security payment of about the same amount, and that's $36,000 a year, $3,000 a month. Nothing fancy, but enough to get by.

Now change that 5% to 0.9% and you're earning $3,240 per year, or about $270 a month. Add that to $1,500 a month in Social Security and you've got $1,770 a month to live on; just $21,240 a year. That's a brutal 41% cut in income. And it is why many senior citizens around the country are being forced to draw down savings to make ends meet.

The Federal Reserve's low interest rates are a boon to overextended banks and to the borrowers who owe them money. (As well as the world's greatest debtor, the U.S. Treasury). But these benefits come at the expense of savers — both those who hope to see their savings grow enough that they can retire someday, and those who have already retired expecting to live on interest at rates far higher than those that prevail today. The low rates are, basically, a tax on savers for the benefit of borrowers and those who made bad loans.

Alpo: it's what's for dinner!

Mia Love Convention Speech

This was one of the highlights of last night's show.

Mia Love intro video:



And speech:



Love is in a tough election battle with an entrenched Democrat incumbent. Please donate to the Love Bomb here.  Your money's a lot better off with great young candidates like Mia Love than with corrupt old hacks like John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and the RNC.

Guest post: California Teachers' Union protects child molesters

[Ed. note: I rarely publish guest posts, but this is an important issue and Christine Young is absolutely right.  In fact, I'd been meaning to post on this very issue myself.]

As a mom of four children in public school here in California, I’m disgusted with how special interest groups like the teachers’ union always put our children last, behind their bloated paychecks and pension benefits. But now they’ve gone too far.  Just recently, the California Teachers Association killed a bill in the legislature that would have made it easier for school boards to fire teachers who are known child molesters!
It’s almost too hard to believe, but watch this CNN expose about how the teachers union conspired to keep perverts like this veteran Los Angeles area teacher in the classroom (also see this LA Weekly article).

That’s why we need reform like Prop 32, which is on the November ballot. We have to stop the special interest money that keeps these groups powerful and detached from doing what’s best for our children. The measure addresses the special interests' control of government and returns power to Californians by limiting both corporate and union political giving.

Here is what it does:

1. Bans both corporate and union contributions to state and local candidates

2. Bans contributions by government contractors to the politicians who award their contracts

3. Bans automatic deductions by corporations, unions, and government of employees’ wages to be used for politics

Of course, the opponents of the measure are spreading lies about how cops, firemen, teachers, et al are against 32, but keep in mind it’s only the union leadership that is against the measure. I know plenty of teachers who don’t like what their union does and certainly don’t want sexual predators in our classrooms!

Join our Facebook Group “California Parents for Reform” where we discuss this and other issues facing our schools and families.

-Christine Young is the mom behind the popular parenting blog FromDatestoDiapers.com, where she shares about life with seven little ones, offers advice and encouragement, and writes her thoughts and opinions on some of the greatest products on the market – those that make family life FUN.

Too Much Information

Solid gold

With gold still far below its 2011 highs but looking technically very strong, the U.S. still running deficits of 8% of GDP, and Australia looking to join the global printfest, this would be a good time to revisit Gold: do you have your share?
Estimates for all the gold ever mined in the world are around 165,000 metric tons. A metric ton is 32,150 troy ounces, meaning there are only 5.3 billion ounces out there -- or less than one for every person on the planet! Do you have your ounce?

Now assuming that most inhabitants of third-world nations don't have a lot of gold, how much gold is there per developed-world inhabitant? The OECD countries have a population of about 1.2 billion, meaning there are about 4.4 ounces per developed-world citizen. Do you have your share?
Get thee to a coin shop, my friend.

5 Best Presidents: some Tea Party views

The Union-Tribune beclowns itself again today by naming both George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush among the five (actually six) greatest Presidents in history.
I am not making this up.
I can't link to the U-T because it has gone dark behind a paywall, and I certainly wouldn't recommend anyone actually pay for this garbage, but here is their list:
1. Abraham Lincoln, 1861-1865.
2. George Washington, 1789-1797.
3. Ronald Reagan, 1981-1989
4. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1933-1945
5. (tie) George H.W. Bush, 1989-1993, and George W. Bush, 2001-2009

I asked some Tea Party friends including the SLOBs to name their top 5. Not surprisingly, the Tea Partiers put the U-T blockheads to shame. In approximate order of number of Tea Partier picks:
George Washington Abraham Lincoln Ronald Reagan Thomas Jefferson Andrew Jackson Calvin Coolidge James Madison Dwight Eisenhower John Adams John Quincy Adams Ulysses S Grant Teddy Roosevelt
Surprised by any of those picks? Pick up a biography and think as you read how that President's beliefs and actions might inspire a 21st century believer in individual liberty and limited government.

As a side note, the U-T readers picked the worst Presidents ever. Obama, Bush, Nixon, and Carter are in a dead heat for first, with LBJ coming in a distant fifth. I agree with all of those picks.

Quote of the Day

Peggy Noonan, crediting an anonymous screenwriter:
It is good that Joe Biden is going to the Republican National Convention to hold high the flag of his party. People make fun of his gaffes, of his embarrassing verbal forays, but he's no fool and he knows how to take it to the other guy. The speech he is working on, to be given in the heart of downtown, just across from the convention site, will be stirring and stentorian: "All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Tampa, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words, 'Ich bin ein Tampon.'"

Ignorance is Strength

From Reuters:
Aug 23 (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly rose last week, suggesting the labor market is healing too slowly to make much of a dent in the unemployment rate.
From dictionary.reference.com:
Heal: to make healthy, whole, or sound; restore to health; free from ailment.
Can one go forward in reverse? Anyway, remember kids, the more you understand the English Language, the fewer jobs there are available to you, especially at Reuters.

20 years later: murder at Ruby Ridge

Reason sums it up:
It isn't hard to find examples of marginal groups whose paranoia about the government drove them to violence. The tale of the Weavers shows how the government's paranoia about marginal groups can drive it to violence, too. The feds looked at a family with fringy views and perceived a threat, and as a result a woman, a boy, a dog, and one of the government's own agents were killed. It wouldn't be the last time something like that happened. A year later in Waco, the Branch Davidians' paranoia would be no match for the paranoia of the Davidians' enemies.
As our blog friend Beebs often quotes:
"The stink of your lawless government has reached Heaven, the abode of Yahweh our Yahshua. Whether we live or whether we die, we will not bow to your evil commandments." - Vickie Weaver
Vickie Weaver was shot in the head by an FBI sniper as she stood, unarmed in her house, holding her baby.

What would Thomas Jefferson do?

Gold goes Full Retard on comments from Fed retards; Pimco goes for the gold

Gold today:



Here's what did it:
The Federal Reserve sent its strongest signal yet that it is preparing to take new steps to bolster the recovery, saying that measures would be needed fairly soon unless economic growth picks up substantially.

The statement was included in minutes released Wednesday from the Fed's July 31-Aug. 1 policy meeting. The minutes also indicated that a new round of bond buying, known as quantitative easing, was high on its list of options.

"Many members judged that additional monetary accommodation would likely be warranted fairly soon unless incoming information pointed to a substantial and sustainable strengthening in the pace of the economic recovery," according to the minutes, released after the customary three-week lag.
And the world's biggest bond manager knows exactly what to do about that:
"The Pimco Commodity Real Return Strategy Fund, which has about $20 billion in assets, has increased its gold holdings to 11.5% of total assets recently, from 10.5% two months ago, and has been adding to the position when gold prices dipped toward $1,500 a troy ounce, says Nic Johnson, the fund's co-portfolio manager."

[...]

Pimco expects currency devaluation to remain a central theme in the market as global liquidity swells thanks to continued easy-money efforts from the world's central banks. Interest rates, meanwhile, will need to stay low as government debt runs at a high proportion to the overall economy.

"Gold is the currency without a printing press," Mr. Johnson says.

Moreover, investors should purchase gold before inflation rates rise, as "it's the process of going from 2% inflation to 4% inflation that's going to drive gold higher," he says.
Disclosure: long gold, silver, platinum, palladium, GLD, SLV, GSOL, GDX, GDXJ, and the Pimco Commodity Real Return Strategy Fund (PCRRX).

Bloodbath in Paradise Hills: Clarence Blunt and Lilly Nguyen Blunt

Police found three dead and one injured in the southeast San Diego neighborhood of Paradise at 2456 Luther Street. The victims included a baby and a toddler.

Union-Tribune:
Three people were found dead inside a home in Paradise Hills Sunday night, including a baby and a toddler, San Diego police said.

Officers were called to the home on Luther Street near Calle Pavana around 5:50 p.m. by an unidentified relative who asked police to check on the welfare of the family.

When they arrived, they were unable to get anyone to open the door and saw a man inside who needed help, said homicide Lt. Ernie Herbert. After getting into the home, they found three bodies in the living room.

The victims included a 7-month-old boy, a 3-year-old girl and a 33-year-old woman.

Police also found a 55-year-old man who was in need of medical assistance, Herbert said. He was taken to the hospital. Herbert said he believed that man was the husband and the victim was [sic] his wife and children.
The home belongs to Clarence and Lilly Blunt, who purchased it in 2010 for $340,000.

A Facebook page for Lilly Nguyen Blunt showed pictures of a smiling San Diego State graduate and two happy children approximately the same age as the victims.

Bizarro USA - a Republic of Bananas

Obama financial adviser, former New Jersey governor, and former Goldman Sith Overlord Jon Corzine will not even face charges for about 1 billion dollars that his firm was responsible for making disappear.
A criminal investigation into the collapse of the brokerage firm MF Global and the disappearance of about $1 billion in customer money is now heading into its final stage without charges expected against any top executives.

After 10 months of stitching together evidence on the firm’s demise, criminal investigators are concluding that chaos and porous risk controls at the firm, rather than fraud, allowed the money to disappear, according to people involved in the case.
Funny how people define things.  They use the term "porous risk controls" where people of normal intelligence and understanding of the English language would use pure and blatant theft. 

BUT let's not focus on this, lets focus on the real criminals of our society.  To wit Brittni Colleps:
A former Texas high school English teacher and mother of three is on trial, accused of having sex with five male students.

The evidence against Brittni Colleps, 28, includes cell phone video that allegedly shows group sex between her and four students at her home. Prosecutors say it happened while her children and husband, who is an Army specialist stationed out-of-state, were away. The graphic video was shown to the jury this week.
...
Police say the alleged incident took place at her Arlington, Texas home in April and May of 2011, according to ABC News affiliate WFAA. Since all of the students were 18 at the time of the alleged incident, Colleps is not facing statutory rape charges. Instead, she has been hit with five counts of having an improper relationship with a student.
* Bolding is ours

Brittni had sex with adults. They are students at her school and therefore without question she should be fired on the spot. But charged with a crime?!? And what possible punishment could she face?
If Colleps is convicted, she could spend 20 years in prison.
It's not against the law to have consensual sex with an adult, as far as I'm aware. Yet she may go to jail for 20 years while Obama insider Jon Corzine will not even be charged for stealing fortunes. Would you like some banana with that republic?

Daily Bail re-posts Tavakoli's analysis on Corzine and MF Global.

Some of CalPERS' worst investments are in California

Well, like President Obama's half a billion dollars blown on Solyndra, that's what the political allocation of capital will get you.

CalPERS set up funds mandated to invest in California companies to help California job creation. How's that working out for them?
CalPERS' investment committee urged staff not to move ahead with plans to end the pension fund's $1.035 billion private equity program that targets California-based companies.

Staff at the $237.5 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, Sacramento, has called for a five-year wind-down of the program and did not back off that recommendation on Monday, although a panel of investment staff members led by Real Desrochers, senior portfolio officer, private equity, said they would work to develop a new plan for in-state investments.

[...]

The most recent commitment in the program, $560 million to a Hamilton Lane fund of funds in 2006, has shown an internal rate of return of 0.86% as of Dec. 31 compared to its benchmark's 6.9% return.

Another $475 million committed to 10 managers in 2001 has shown an annualized -6.4% IRR as of Dec. 31 when the performance of one of the funds — the GCP California Fund, with a 94% IRR — was excluded, according to an analysis of the California-only private equity program presented to the board.


And let's not forget CalPERS' most hilarious California investment of all: putting a billion dollars into leveraged scrub land outside of Los Angeles at the peak of the housing bubble in the infamous LandSource deal.

Here's a tip for you geniuses at CalPERS: don't invest in a failed state that just decided to borrow money to build a $6 billion train to nowhere when it can't even balance the annual budget much less keep up with mushrooming pension liabilities.

"Economic suicides" sweep Europe

Here in the U.S. we have Greenspan's Body Count, those whose lives were devastated by Fed-pushed excessive debt and economic hardship in the aftermath of the bursting of Greenspan's bubbles.

Greenspan's Body Count is largely the result of excessive private debt. In Europe, a new epidemic is the result of excessive public debt. Washington Post:
The double suicide, in a working-class neighborhood in the Greek capital in late May, is just one incident among thousands of suicides this year that have shaken European societies as mounting job losses, cutbacks in public services and shrinking government pensions due to the continent’s financial upheaval take a toll on mental health.
Heckuva job, central planners!

P.S. Don't look now, but the U.S. just passed 100% debt/GDP and we're still running 8% GDP deficits. Anybody speak Greek?

We are the 56% !!!

Today Rasmussen has an unusual number of 56% opinions on its front page.




56% for repealing ObamaCare. 56% against bank bailouts. 56% for border enforcement.

The opposing views got 25% - 38% on these questions.

Given that such substantial majorities are against ObamaCare, against bank bailouts, and for border enforcement, why do we keep getting the exact opposite from elected politicians?

Something's gotta give.

Paul Ryan: The Tea Party has Spoken

My fellow San Diego Tea Partiers the SLOBs have been discussing the Ryan pick offline (er, online, kinda.... by e-mail but not on the blogs).

Our survey says:



It's a bold choice. Most folks thought Romney was a wimp and would go for a safe choice like Rob Portman. Ryan has actually proposed a budget plan (something the Senate Democrats haven't done for years), which leaves him open to the Democrat attack machine about what might get cut. They'll try to scare seniors in particular that he wants to take away their Medicare. Ryan's budget doesn't go far enough, of course, and relies on overly optimistic growth assumptions, but like the Simpson-Bowles plan that Obama strangled in its crib, it's a step in the right direction and a good starting point for discussions.

Ryan has his flaws. He voted for TARP and S-CHIP and Medicare Part D. But he's one of the few adults in Washington actually willing to discuss the fiscal crisis. And he is young, smart, energetic, charismatic, and will make Joe Biden look like he's singing The Villages in the debate.

Please click on over to The Liberator Today and The Scratching Post and Temple of Mut for further Tea Party reaction. And get these sexy Romney/Ryan T-shirts hot off the presses from Lipstick Underground.

And then there's the Hitler reaction:

Obama that I Used to Know



Brilliantly executed, and brilliant. This is going to go down in my all-time favorites with McCain gets Barack-rolled and Take a Kayak.

Slate.com embarrassment Matthew Yglesias fisked on Neil Barofsky

We've been remiss in not commenting on heroic former Inspector General Neil Barofsky blowing the whistle on the TARP ripoff and the Treasury Department's fealty to Wall Street.

Fortunately, our SLOB friend Beers with Demo says all that needs to be said.
Barofsky explains that the Treasury Department/Wall Street relationship is the very epitome of regulatory capture whereby the regulatory nature of the department is gamed exclusively to favor the Wall Street financial firms and has become so self-serving that in Barofsky's words Washington had abandoned Main Street while rescuing Wall Street.
Click on over and read the whole thing, then come back for Geithner apologist Matthew Yglesias' diarrhea of the brain.

Back? Great. In June, we commented on the fact that Slate.com's "Moneybox" column was taken over by a leftist philosophy major with no education or experience in finance or economics. We fisked the cheeky idiot's pathetic attempt to argue with some of the foremost economists alive.

And now for symmetry, as we fisked Yglesias from the right, the brilliant Yves Smith fisks him from the left at Naked Capitalism.
I’ve dragged my feet on addressing it, precisely because it manages to achieve a remarkable density of misdirection, obfuscation, straw manning and misrepresentation in a mere 745 words. I don’t read Yglesias much because he has gotten the art of propagandizing down so well that it probably comes from him as second nature, just as an author of bodice-rippers knows what story lines, scenes, and turns of phrase will evoke the desired Pavlovian responses in the target audience. So I thought it would be worthwhile to parse this piece not just because it was worth debunking, but also an an exercise in identifying some of his devices.
Now you know you have to go on over and read that whole thing.

And then buy Barofsky's book, Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street.

Romneynomics vs. Obamanomics: Staples vs. Solyndra

He's got a point there.

"If I wanted America to fail"



Chick Fil A situation is nuts

You know had this uproar regarding the CEO’s comments (covered here, here and here) not occurred, I can’t imagine I’d ever go to Chick Fil A. I have never had a desire to go there but on Saturday I plan on stopping by the one in Fairfield, CA on my way to camping in the Sierras. I feel I must patronize them to support the First Amendment.

Seriously anyone who thinks it’s ok for Chicago, Boston and others to imply or actually impose completely illegal restrictions to keep Chick Fil A out of the area, I have a few questions:
  1. Do you bank at BofA, Chase, Citi, Goldman, or any of the big Wall Street firms? If yes, have you checked the moral record of their CEOs? What’s worse, having a religious belief based on thousands of years of practice that generally has steered people on the path of goodness OR actively participating in the theft and destruction of peoples' hard earned wealth, and the annihilation of the middle class, for their own personal gain? 
  2. Do you know the opinions of all the CEOs of all the manufacturers and service providers that you patronize? If no then WHY NOT?!?  What you need the MSM to make an opinion for you?  If the CEO doesn't make the NYTimes then he must be good, must be a good liberal, right??? 
  3. If Chick Fil A is not actually discriminating against anyone and we’re only dealing with a religious comment, and donations, made by one of the corporation’s employees, do you actually think it is the place of government to break zoning law by somehow restricting them from opening a new store at an area they are zoning-wise allowed to locate at? What would happen if the government did the same thing against a different store say for something that you believed in? Say a CEO of Wendy's claimed to support Santa Claus and you LOVE Santa. Then the City of Chicago decides to ban Wendy's because of Santa's hurtful image to those who do not celebrate Christmas, would you have a problem with that?  Oh but that's absurd?  Oh the government would never do that because it's your government?  
I’m sure the food I’m going to buy at Chick Fil A will be terrible but I’m buying it because I believe in the foundation of this country, not the dogmatic hypocrisy of our ruling class. This might turn out to be marketing genius by the CEO.

But hey, at least this CEO wasn't arrested. Or would you people like to see that as well?

Disclaimer: I support gay marriage, I just support the First Amendment more.
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