April 2013 - W.C. Varones

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4.30.2013

GM Volt - It's No Tesla

12:27 PM 0
ZH comments that GM announced that it lost money on every Volt and in order to fix that they will be charging less for each unit. Brilliant!

The reason for comment though isn't the Volt, it's my car crush on Tesla. I don't buy into any of the environmental terror that we hear all the time about carbon dioxide causing global destruction, and I'd never purchase an electric or hybrid ahead of a Golf TDI, but I love this car and the ongoing story of Tesla. I see at least 1 every single day. Often I see 2 or 3 on my commute and I think that's awesome. I'm a huge fan of technology and Elon Musk is apparently doing something right because this thing is being purchased by many folks. Also it's sharp looking. It's got great lines. The Volt on the other hand might be one of the ugliest cars ever produced. But what do you expect from a communist enterprise where failure is rewarded.

Just a little entrepreneurial shout out to Musk and Tesla. I know they aren't purely capitalist either but at least what they are producing is being sold and it looks great.
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4.26.2013

Victory lap

12:26 PM 2
It's been a good month for predictions here at the WCV.

We were the first (only?) to instantly call BS on the FBI arrest of an Elvis impersonator in the ricin mailing:
I wouldn't be surprised if the ricin thing turns out to be a mistaken lab test, and this guy was just sending ordinary conspiracy theory letters to Obama and Senator Wicker. How stupid would you have to be to sign your Elvis impersonator stage name to letters containing ricin?
Whether or not there actually was ricin that maybe somebody else sent, Kevin Curtis has been released as he was indeed not that stupid.  Not that it's a difficult call to say the FBI always fingers the wrong guy first (Richard Jewell, Dr. Steven Hatfill...).

We had similar success early in the gold plunge:
This could get a lot uglier [It did.] as leveraged futures holders get margin calls and are forced to sell. Those with physical gold and a long-term view? Buying opportunity [It was.].
We missed one opportunity for a layup as the left-wing media were falling all over themselves hoping for a Tea Party terrorist.  It was obvious to anyone with two brain cells to rub together that Boston was likely a foreign-born Islamic radical, but we didn't get around to posting the obvious.  Next time.
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4.25.2013

The Southern Poverty Law Center is a hate group

5:46 AM 0
In the distant past, the Southern Poverty Law Center was once a legitimate civil rights organization.

Sadly, it is now a complete farce and a left-wing political machine, labeling everyone to the right of David Brooks a "hate group."

Well, by its own standards, the SPLC is clearly a hate group, as domestic terrorist Floyd Lee Corkins admitted in a videotaped interview that he was inspired to shoot up the Family Research Council's headquarters by the SPLC's hate rhetoric.
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4.24.2013

You didn't build that Boston Marathon bomb

4.23.2013

Charles Schwab web site down

12:50 PM 0
That's not good.  Hope you didn't have to get any trades in before the close.


Mobile app not working either and I wouldn't even bother trying to get someone on the phone right now.  Hopefully Schwab will make you whole if your day trades go offsides overnight.
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4.21.2013

Georgetown University drops Arianna Pattek down the memory hole

6:53 AM 7
A racist, sexist blogger writing as "feministconservative" told of her employment in a university admissions office where she boasted of throwing applications from white males in the trash:
For instance I can’t tell you how many applications I saw that were just dripping with white male privelege. Any of those that I saw basically went straight to the garbage can regardless of how good their qualifactions were. If I saw an application from a white male that basically was just good test scores, and activities like chess club or math club or what not then it shows me this person is not interested in a diverse environment. Obviously he made no effort in integrating with minorities or to sympathize with them and is counting on male privelege to get in. So that kind of application should get ignored. In their place I admitted a female student. This goes double especially for math/science majors.

[...]

I’m happy to say that I approved nearly 90% of all female minority and 80% of all (white female applicants especially if the girls want to study math or science) while rejecting over 50% of white males this week and hope this trend holds out.
Imagine the sick educational environment that would lead someone to believe there was absolutely nothing wrong with writing something like that.

After web sleuths tentatively identified the blogger as Arianna Pattek and the university as Georgetown University via details about her senior thesis that she posted online, Georgetown's response has been odd. They have denied via Twitter that Pattek was employed in the admissions office, but have not released an official statement. Odder still, they have scrubbed any mention of Pattek from the University web site.



Google or Bing her name and you'll find multiple stories on the Georgetown University website, all of which have been dropped down the memory hole, as has her senior thesis. Some are still available on archive.org.
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4.20.2013

4.19.2013

Terrorists for gun control

8:52 AM 3
UPDATE: This appears to be a clever hoax. It was actually on Twitter, but now removed. The time stamp is from 2012 and the user name is "Dzhokhar_". Someone figured out a way to hack twitter. The guy was reportedly tweeting while the boat standoff was going on, though I didn't get to see it. Nice work.

UPDATE: Dzhokhar tweets from the hospital:



Obama has a new ally:

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Boston Marathon bombers are from Chechnya; surviving terrorist is Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev

4:01 AM 0


Washington Post:
Surviving Boston bomb suspect identified as Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge, Mass.
RAPSI:
The suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing were Chechen and had been living in the US for approximately one year, the AP reported Friday citing sources.

The surviving suspect has been identified by the AP’s source as Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, of Cambridge, Mass, according to a Tweet by the news agency.

A second suspect was reported dead earlier Friday. Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis confirmed the death of one of the suspects implicated in Monday's Boston Marathon bombing which left three dead and upwards of 176 via his Twitter account Friday, stating simply: "One suspect dead. One at large. Armed and dangerous. White hat suspect at large"
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is listed in this 2011 news story as having won a scholarship for Cambridge-area high school students.

Chechnya is known for both separatist terrorism and its Muslim religion. You may recall the Beslan school massacre, perhaps the cruelest terrorist attack in history.

UPDATE: The dead one is Dzhokhar's brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, an Islamist and amateur boxer.
Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who has been killed last night in a shootout with police at Watertown, near Boston, was a boxer with a YouTube profile which carried controversial videos of Islamic preacher Feiz Mohammad.

[...]

Tamerlan reportedly shared on his YouTube profile some videos of Australian Muslim preacher Mohammad, of Lebanese origin. A former boxer, Mohammad gained made the headlines in 2005 for blaming women for being rape victims.

In 2007, the Australian Federal Police investigated whether 16 DVDs of Mohammed's sermons, called the Death Series, broke laws against sedition, racial vilification, and inciting violence and terrorism. He also featured in a British documentary called Undercover Mosque.
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4.18.2013

Cui bono

5:37 PM 0
Strange how Obama is rushing to be all over the scene in Boston, rather than the scene of the much deadlier explosion in Texas.

These people sure have a nose for opportunity.
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Here we go again?

10:44 AM 1
The U.S. doesn't really know what to do when the subjects of a brutally oppressive puppet government decide to attack Americans.  You can't really punish the puppet, so to look busy, you have to invade a different country and maybe take away some freedoms while you're at it.

Looks like Boston may be more of the same. (UPDATE: link to picture of innocent kid removed. We're back to honkies with backpacks.)
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Not that there's anything wrong with that

4.17.2013

The decade ahead

8:30 PM 0
"White guys with backpacks are about to learn what life is like for brown guys with turbans."
-Charlie McDanger
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KC from Tupelo is Elvis impersonator, sent paranoid tweet to Radley Balko in 2011

7:57 PM 0
This sounds like the Kevin Curtis arrested for mailing ricin:

Hunka burnin' love:
Why hire Tribute to the Stars with Kevin Curtis?

Master of Impressions, KC pays tribute to 70 of the biggest names in music history!

Performing a musical Extravaganza, KC walks his audience through 5 decades of hits from legends like:
Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Conway Twitty, Marty Robbins, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Kenny Chesney, Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, Prince, Bon Jovi, Billy Idol & Many More!

KC's 3 octave vocal range, authentic costumes & props make "Tribute to the Stars" a MUST SEE!

KC is a 7 time World Finalist in "Images of the King" contest in Memphis, Tn. & Guiness World Record recipient for creating the 1st brother Duo Tribute to Elvis Act in 2002. You've seen the rest, Now book the Best!

And this tweet:


I wouldn't be surprised if the ricin thing turns out to be a mistaken lab test, and this guy was just sending ordinary conspiracy theory letters to Obama and Senator Wicker. How stupid would you have to be to sign your Elvis impersonator stage name to letters containing ricin?

UPDATE: In late 2011, Curtis tweeted a link to his 2005 corruption conspiracy petition.
STOP Corruption & Cover-up's within our Justic...

Published May 18, 2005
I have been researching vaious cases & legal documents in Mississippi since 1999 & have discovered links between elected officials, business owners & large corperations all over the state of Mississippi. These sources appear to be working together to cover up various illegal practices with our states justice system.

To view legal documentation of such cover-ups and conspiracies...click on the "BIO" icon & it will take you directly to the homepage "Looking 4 Justice in MS".

My goal is to obtain 10,000 signatures from people all over the United States of American who are fed up with corruption, cover-up's & gross injustice in our legal system.

Although Mississippi & Louisiana were recognized last year in consumer reports magazine as being the leading states in corruption, this is a "world" problem that is taking place in various countries of our world, not just in Mississippi.

So, if you care about the future of this nation and would like a fair and safe world for our children and their children to grow up in, show your support by signing this online petition and then sending it to all your friends and family to sign. Thank you in advance & may God bless you!

Kevin Curtis

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Security camera photos of Boston Marathon bombing suspect

Multiple layers of fact-checking update

11:51 AM 0
CNN boasts:
News of the arrest was first reported by CNN.
Not so fast, quick draw.

Boston Herald:
Boston police are reporting there has been no arrest in the Marathon bombing case, saying in a Twitter message: "Despite reports to the contrary there has not been an arrest in the Marathon attack."

Massachusetts State Police also say no arrest has been made. The U.S. Attorney's Office refused to answer questions about any suspects being questioned or in custody.

"All I can say is there is no one that has been arrested," a spokeswoman for Boston U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz.
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4.15.2013

Boston Marathon bombed

12:13 PM 12
WCVB:
Two explosions have been reported near the Boston Marathon finish line on Boylston Street, and there are reports of injuries.

Crews were sent to 617 Boylston St. at about 2:30 p.m. Witnesses said several victims lost limbs, and the area was being evacuated.

Many of the injured appeared to be spectators who gathered for the 117th running of the race.

NewsCenter 5's Sean Kelly said the blasts happened across the street from the Lenox Hotel.

These pictures from Deadspin don't look too good.



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4.13.2013

CBO morons predict three consecutive years of phenomenal growth bigger than the housing bubble, no recession for a decade

10:00 AM 2
Veronique de Rugy of George Mason University compiled this handy chart (HT: Mauldin Economics):



The CBO is a bunch of myopic clueless geeks with models that have absolutely no relation to the real world -- and they are likely under political pressure to be optimistic too.

In 2010, the CBO estimated that the 2013 deficit would be less than 3% of GDP in its "baseline" (aka "current law") scenario which assumed the expiration of all of the Bush tax cuts, the AMT fix, the payroll tax holiday, and the Medicare doc fix.

Now you don't have to be a Keynesian psychopath to understand that large tax increase on the middle class in addition to cutting off people's unemployment checks would have a significant impact on GDP. That is accepted by all economists across the political spectrum. Except, apparently, the model monkeys at the CBO.

In fact, the deficit is running around 6% of GDP this year [UPDATE: It came in at 4.1% thanks to a booming stock market, low interest rates, $78 billion in interest remittances from the Federal Reserve's debt monetization program, and a change in the definition of GDP] even though some of the "baseline" assumptions were eventually adopted (Bush tax cuts for the rich and payroll tax holiday ended at the end of last year). All of the "baseline" tax increases and spending cuts -- including both the extended and the expired -- amounted to only 2% of GDP, so even given the ludicrous stipulation that large middle-class tax hikes have no impact on GDP, the CBO was still way too optimistic.


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4.12.2013

Gold slaughter underway

8:09 AM 1
Gold is down $70, below $1500 for the first time in years. Silver whacked and oil down too as market worries about Zimbabwe Ben pulling out later this year.

This could get a lot uglier as leveraged futures holders get margin calls and are forced to sell. Those with physical gold and a long-term view? Buying opportunity. As Carmen Reinhart just said, the crisis isn't over and inflation (devaluation) is the only way out.

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4.09.2013

A crony capitalist riddle

4:14 PM 2
Q: What do you call it when some rich a-hole spends $100,000 on a government-subsidized toy and then finds it really hard to get parts or service when the company goes bankrupt?

A: Karma.

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4.08.2013

4.07.2013

Stocks catch up to gold

9:20 AM 4



This is a chart of the price of gold and the S&P 500 since 1994.   Until 2008, the price of the S&P was consistently higher than gold.  In 2008-09, stocks crashed below the price of gold, and the two prices rose together from there until 2010-11 when they decoupled as gold outpaced stocks.  Since late 2011, gold has declined and stocks have continued rising.  Last week, stocks caught up to gold in the high 1500s, though at Friday's close, gold had regained a slight lead.

The point here is that the two asset classes have similar long-term returns, though wildly different short-term returns.  That makes them excellent diversifiers for each other.  Gold's price return over the period is 302%, or 7.6% annualized.  The S&P's price return is 247%, or 6.8% annualized.  Add in the S&P's dividend yield which has averaged around 2%, and stocks have outperformed gold.  But gold has equity-like returns with significant risk diversification.  And the real winner is anyone who dollar-cost averaged into both asset classes, buying more gold when gold was low and stocks were high and more stocks when stocks were low and gold was high.

Gold and stocks are both essential components of any rational long-term portfolio strategy.



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4.06.2013

Finance advice columnist Bruce Williams rips off own column

2:21 PM 1
The Dear Abby of money advice, Bruce Williams, appears to be cheating his readers and the community newspapers that pay for his column by recycling old material.

Reader R.M., November 2008:
DEAR BRUCE: I left my 401(k) with my former employer, as it seemed to be performing well. However, I am 54 years old and, examining it more closely, I saw a couple of $800 losses (quarterly) in a three-year period. I haven't called the company, thinking it might say anything just to keep my money invested. The 401(k) had almost reached $80,000. My wife says to sit tight, the economy is tough, and may get worse before it gets better. But she withdrew her $60,000 for her 401(k) a few years ago, and has no retirement money, plus we got hit hard with the penalties from the IRS. Should I contact my banker and roll the money into a no-penalty CD to gather interest? It's better than a loss. -- R.M., via e-mail

DEAR R.M.: My mailbox is full of letters similar to yours. Your 401(k), self-directed IRA or regular investments have taken a hit. Welcome to the real world. Your wife is correct, however -- the economy is tough. You may have an option at certain times to withdraw this money and if you feel more comfortable taking it out of the market, you may wish to do so. If you put the money into a CD, you will just barely stay even with, or a little ahead of, inflation, but your capital will remain intact. On the other hand, when the market recovers, you'll be the beneficiary and the money locked into a CD will not grow. My inclination would be to stay put. While the market may or may not be close to bottom as these words are written, it is going to recover. At 54, you likely have 10 to 15 years before you will need this money, and most observers think the market will recover long before then.

Reader R.M., today:
Dear Bruce: I am 54 years old, and I left my 401(k) with a former employer. However, in examining it more closely, I saw there were a couple $800 losses (quarterly) in a three-year period. I haven’t called them, thinking they might say anything just to keep my money invested with them. It had almost reached $80,000.

My wife says to sit tight, that the economy is tough and it’s not just me it’s happening to. It may get worse before it gets better. She withdrew the $60,000 for her 401(k) a few years ago and has no retirement money, plus we got hit hard with the penalties from the IRS.

Should I contact my banker and see about rolling the money into a no-penalty CD or program to gather interest instead of having a loss?

— R.M., via email

Dear R.M.: Your wife may be right in suggesting you should keep the money invested where it is. The fact that you had an $800 loss a couple of times is not a big deal. How about the times when you had a decent return?

Since you haven’t contacted your 401(k) managers, I suggest you sit down and talk with them. Your $80,000 is nothing to sneeze at, and they should make plenty of time for you. Ask what they are planning for you and how much your investment has earned in the last three or four years. After you get some answers, you can decide who is going to handle your money.

As for your wife, she took $60,000 from her 401(k) and has no retirement money. What happened to that money?
Williams appears to have gone to the trouble of slightly editing the question and then writing a new answer updated for current market conditions. Did he really think he could fool the Google machine? Is it really that hard to get new questions from readers?

We only Googled Williams because his advice was so lame, and we intended to write corrected advice. If he had offered better financial advice, he might have gotten away with the self-plagiarism.
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Here comes the wealth tax

8:03 AM 4
Obama plans to raid IRAs of "the rich." And now that the seal is broken, it's only a matter of time before inflation or legislation bring the wealth tax down to the few remaining middle class folks who have bothered to save for their retirement.

Click on over to Zero Hedge and read the whole thing. It's the post I was planning to write, but Tyler beat me to it. And did a better job anyway.

Obama's asset confiscation scheme is described in The Hill:
Under the plan, a taxpayer’s tax-preferred retirement account, like an IRA, could not finance more than $205,000 per year of retirement – or right around $3 million this year.
Leftists have never been good at math. You try to take out $205,000 a year out of a $3 million dollar account and you are quite likely to outlive your savings... which would make these leftists quite happy, I suppose, to see a bourgeois traitor to the revolution starving in his old age. Whether the limit is inflation-indexed isn't explained yet as details are expected next week, but it's a sure bet the inflation index won't keep up with the cost of food, housing, health care, and energy any better in the future than it has to date.

Anyone with better-than-average savings would be wise to start getting some of it outside the grasp of the U.S. government. Buy some property or some gold overseas. Sovereign Man is a good resource to start planning.
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4.05.2013

Zerohedge Quiz Response

11:29 AM 0
Yesterday Zerohedge hit the big time by being mentioned in a question from Scott Solano to ECB and European Supreme Leader Mario Draghi. It's documented and well worth the read and video watch because Draghi illustrates that the ruling class doesn't give a damn about what anyone thinks. They are all-powerful oligarchs and what they say goes without question.

As ZH documents, Draghi stated
"If the Euro breaks down, and if a country leaves the Euro, it's not like a sliding door. It's a very important thing. It's a project in the European Union. That's why you have a very hard time asking people like me "what would happened if."

ZH responds with a followup question:
"If the Euro is not like a "sliding door", is there a more apt analogy of what the Euro is?"

We'll take a shot.....

You can check-out any time you like, But you can never leave!
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4.03.2013

Greenspan's Body Count: Parag Patel and Niha Patel, 970 Hedgegate Lane, York, PA

3:56 PM 0
Back from a brief speaking engagement in Ireland, serial killer Alan Greenspan fell upon the Harrisburg suburb of York, Pennsylvania yesterday.

PennLive:
Police in York County released the names and additional details regarding a murder-suicide in Manchester Township earlier Tuesday in which a husband shot and killed his wife, then turned the gun on himself.

Parag Patel, 43, and his wife, Niha Patel, 41, were found dead when officers arrived at their home at 970 Hedgegate Lane just before 2 p.m. Tuesday, according to Northern York County Regional Police.
The home at 970 Hedgegate was purchased at the height of the bubble in 2008 for $411,224. Zillow now values it at $341,772, though a similar-sized house nearby sold recently for $190,700 and a much larger house immediately across the street sold for $250,000.

Greenspan's Body Count stands at 244.
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Mac Daddy Propaganda

11:48 AM 0
Or is it? Franky Nothaft, Chief Propagandist Economist for Freddie Mac shares a message of hope and cheer regarding the home buying landscape. Some claim it's propaganda but I disagree. All you need to hear is around 0:38: "...we expect this spring home buying season to be the best since 2007." And what happened to housing prices and the economy in general after 2007 Franky?

Fortunately Franky answers in the same video. He offers that in 2012 alone, according to the graph below presented in video, real estate added 1.5 trillion to net worth. And how much did it take away from net worth after 2007 Frank? Are we net positive or negative, or am I not smart enough to understand because I don't have an economics degree from an Ivy League school? Because according to your graph, if it's 2007 all over again, then this is probably not a great time to buy a house I can't afford anyway.

Watch for propoganda and humor purposes only.
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4.02.2013

Greenspan's Body Count goes to Ireland

5:36 PM 0
The Independent (Ireland):
A support group has staged a demonstration at a suicide blackspot to highlight its claims that three people a day are taking their own lives due to "unforgivable" pressures over debt.

Support group Let's Get Together (LGT) staged a controversial city centre protest where life-size mannequins were hung from a busy bridge to highlight the suicide crisis now gripping Ireland.

[...]

But suicide support groups say that they must raise awareness and that official CSO figures indicating up to 700 people take their own lives each year are an underestimate.

"The true figure, from what we have been able to garner from suicide support groups around the country, is somewhere between 900 and 1,100. And the problem is that it is rising all the time," said Pat Buckley of LGT.

But Mr Buckley, who lost two of his brothers to suicide, said that there has been a clear shift from younger to older males opting to take their own lives.

"Young men aged from 18 to 30 were always the greatest risk group. But we are seeing a significant increase in the number of men and women aged from 30 to 55 now taking their own lives.

"All the indications are that they cannot take the pressure of debt repayments and having their incomes wiped out by the Celtic Tiger collapse."
Paul Krugman, Ben Bernanke, and Barack Obama, whose solution to the debt crisis is more debt, could not be reached for comment.
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4.01.2013

Ode to gold

5:38 AM 1
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways
The Bernank can printeth thee not, hard as he may try
Thou hireth not overpaid asshats like Meg Whitman to manage thy business
Thou diluteth me not with employee stock options
Thy expense ratio is a sock drawer and a .44 magnum
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