September 2013 - W.C. Varones

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9.30.2013

Greenspan's Body Count goes to India

6:57 PM 1
This is one of the most under-reported stories in the Western press. There's an absolute epidemic of debt-suicides in India. Most weeks, multiple Indian debt-suicide stories cross my desk.

The latest:
Three members of a weaver family who could not repay a loan they had taken to invest in share markets committed suicide in their house in Madurai district on Sunday morning.

The deceased were identified as Krishna Ram (51), his wife Brinda (46) and their son Upendiran (28) of Meenakshi Nagar in Sourashtra Colony near Vandiyur. Krishna Ram and Brinda were handloom weavers, and they and Upendiran ended their lives by hanging from the handlooms installed in the house, police said.

Upendiran, who completed an undergraduate degree, had invested in share markets along with a few of his friends. The losses he suffered when the markets fell forced him to borrow money from loan sharks. As the family members did not have any other source of income to repay the loan, they might have decided to commit suicide, police said, adding that the exact amount they had borrowed was yet to be ascertained.
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9.29.2013

Shut 'em down

George Will on the Dirty Fed

2:38 PM 0
None other than the esteemed traditional conservative columnist George Will is sounding a lot like a Fed-bashing radical these days.

In the Washington Post, nonetheless! WCV readers will recognize some familiar themes (emphasis added).

Bernanke once hoped that economists might (in John Maynard Keynes’s words) “get themselves thought of as humble, competent people on a level with dentists.” But Bernanke speaks the heroic language of a central planner, talking about the Fed’s tasks of “economic management” and “economic engineering.”

[...]

ZIRP also makes the Fed an indispensable enabler of big government. By making borrowing, and hence deficits, cheap, ZIRP facilitates the political class’s bipartisan strategy of delivering current benefits while deferring costs. ZIRP also provides cheap credit to big government’s partner, big business.

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9.25.2013

General Theory of Liberalism hits Obamacare

4:07 PM 2
We've been saying for years in our General Theory of Liberalism that the central theme of all ill-conceived liberal policies is liberals' failure to understand incentive effects.

Now comes WSJ's James Taranto to point out that the only way Obamacare will not collapse is if gullible young people can be persuaded to buy overpriced insurance that they don't need and can't afford.
But the success of ObamaCare depends on enrolling large numbers of young people while making insurance both more costly and less necessary for them. One can argue that buying insurance is a rational choice, but any way you slice it, that argument will be weaker under ObamaCare than it was before.
Incentives, people, incentives!
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9.20.2013

Rise of the Machines: textile manufacturing back, but without workers

5:17 PM 0
Rise of the Machines is a recurring series here at WCV.

Today, the New York Times catches up to the trend with a front page story:
Bayard Winthrop, the founder of the sweatshirt and clothing company American Giant, was at the mill one morning earlier this year to meet with his Parkdale sales representative. Just last year, Mr. Winthrop was buying fabric from a factory in India. Now, he says, it is cheaper to shop in the United States. Mr. Winthrop uses Parkdale yarn from one of its 25 American factories, and has that yarn spun into fabric about four miles from Parkdale’s Gaffney plant, at Carolina Cotton Works.

Mr. Winthrop says American manufacturing has several advantages over outsourcing. Transportation costs are a fraction of what they are overseas. Turnaround time is quicker. Most striking, labor costs — the reason all these companies fled in the first place — aren’t that much higher than overseas because the factories that survived the outsourcing wave have largely turned to automation and are employing far fewer workers.
Longtime WCV readers will know that this Friday afternoon it is once again time to turn the speakers up to 11 and rock out to AC/DC's Who Made Who, with the video from Stephen King's Maximum Overdrive.

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9.19.2013

Five years later: The Day Capitalism Died

9.18.2013

Dow, S&P hit all-time highs as Bernanke runs screaming from the Taper

Don't fear the tapir

5:43 AM 1



So Zimbabwe Ben and Zimbabwe Janet are likely to announce that they're going to print money slightly slower going forward than the trillion dollars per year pace they're currently printing at. Meh.
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Real median household income at 17-year low

9.15.2013

Idiot Lawyer Who Shouldn't Own Cats Is Suing People Because He Killed His Own Cat

7:31 PM 1


Alright, sorry to derail the titillating conversation here on WC Varones for a moment but instead of talking about Greenspan's victims and politics and whatever else it is we chat up, let's talk about cats.

Actually, first, let's talk about stupid lawyers who require the nanny state to regulate and label and identify every single danger to themselves and their pets because they are too stupid to take five minutes and check Google for "plants dangerous for cats" knowing they have a damn cat in the house. Here's a protip: Home Depot has an excellent garden section AND free WiFi, do what I do and log on from your smartphone at the store just to triple check you can take that nice little houseplant home to your army of feline companions.

Anyway, here is the story via the Pussington Post:

A lawyer purchased lilies for his wife. Within 24 hours their cat, Boogaloo, became dangerously ill  after chewing the leaves. The cat was rushed to an animal hospital where despite the best efforts of the vets, which included kidney dialysis and $1,542.47 of treatment, he died. The lawyer, Gee Bredahl, is now suing the florist on the grounds that a warning should have been put on the lilies.  There was a warning of the danger of consumption for human beings, but nothing specific for cats. According to the The Oregonian:
Gee argues that the responsibility lies entirely on the retailer and wholesaler to disclose the risk — not on cat owners to know it themselves.
“When you have a consequence as high as that, it’s up to the retailer or a manufacturer — who are making money off this product — to warn of these potential high consequences of buying the product,” he said.
His animal-law attorney, Dane Johnson, cited floral industry papers alerting retailers to the risk lilies pose to cats.
Gee, are you stupid or just a lazy piece of shit? A responsible cat owner knows there are HUNDREDS of potential toxins to a cat in our homes, from Lysol to onions to garlic to plastic bags (trust me on that last one, one of my idiot cats likes to chew on them and I swear one of these days he's going to end up in the hospital because he's a dipshit who likes to gnaw on plastic).

Guys like this are the reason highways in DC have to have big signs that say "NEW TRAFFIC PATTERN AHEAD" any time the DOT puts a few cones in the road because zombie morons that aren't paying attention might run off the road if you don't warn them 3 miles in advance that there are cones ahead. What next? Should we each have a special government worker assigned to us to make sure we have our shoes tied at all times and to make sure we're washing our hands with the proper antibacterial soap because God forbid if we don't and get an infection we could sue the CDC for not warning us picking our nose and eating it is dangerous? I mean really!

I suppose I need someone to put a government-mandated sticker on my windows that says "if you jump out of this, you might die" and HEY while we're at it, if I am speeding at 100 MPH in my Mazda down the freeway, maybe if I get in a horrible accident I can sue Mazda because they allowed my car to be built to go that fast in the first place.

It is terrible what happened to this jerk's cat but the only person responsible is HIM. He purchased them, he allowed his cat to eat them and he is the idiot who didn't know lilies will kill a cat. But it's so much easier to sue a bunch of people and blame them because you're a lazy moron, right?

I sincerely hope this ambulance-chasing loser is banned from ever owning a cat again since he clearly can't manage to do so on his own without a little help from a bunch of unnecessary regulations.

Edit: the cat miraculously lived.
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Meet your new Fed head...

6:24 PM 0



... Zimbabwe Janet!

Today, facing a very contentious confirmation hearing, Obama's thug pick for Federal Reserve Chairman, Larry Summers, withdrew from consideration. Fresh off rejection by the American public and Congress over his Syria military adventure plans, and having been rolled by Vladimir Putin and Bashar Assad, Obama didn't have any more fight left in him. Janet Yellen, while not yet officially nominated, is the candidate of least resistance to both the pundit class and to liberals in the Senate.

While Yellen is a money-printing maniac in the mold of Bernanke, she's actually a welcome alternative to the bullying, lawless Summers. The legendary Jr. Deputy Accountant returns from a long blog hiatus to tell us why. And Jefferies economist David Zervos wrote two weeks ago, Summers is the ultimate market-manipulating, central-planning, crony capitalist bailout thug:
Larry was one of the key architects of the auto sector bailout and the TARP bailout in 2008-09. He was also on record suggesting that letting Lehman Brothers go bankrupt would be a "grave" mistake - instead he preferred a bailout. He pushed for a full government takeover of FNM and FRE well before the actual takeover - again a bailout. And going back in time, he was a key player in the Mexican debt bailout (aka the GS bailout) of 1994. Finally, throughout the late '90s Larry was a member of the "Committee to Save the World" - a troika that utilized bailouts, backstops, and safeguards as part of the heavy-handed arsenal of government intrusion into the private sector, which stopped market forces from finding occasionally uncomfortable equilibria. The crown jewel of the CSW's tireless work was to architect/muscle a $3.5b "private sector" plan to backstop losses from LTCM - another bailout!
So good riddance to Larry Summers.   Summers would have brought a dangerous concentration of economic power to the White House.  He would have unified monetary (money-printing) and fiscal (crony capitalist bailouts) policy for the Obama regime.  Yellen will still have Obama's back for as much debt monetization as he needs, but she won't be making bailout calls from the West Wing.

But isn't it funny that four years after incessant talk of a Fed "exit strategy," Bernanke's female doppelganger inherits a Fed that not only hasn't exited, but is still going in deeper every day!
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9.14.2013

You know... this used to be a hell of a good country

11:45 AM 0
George Hanson: I can't understand what's going wrong with it.

Billy: Man, everybody got chicken, that's what happened. Hey, we can't even get into like a second-rate hotel, I mean, a second-rate motel, you dig? They think we're gonna their throat or something, man. They're scared, man.

George Hanson: They're not scared of you.  They're scared of what you represent to them.

Billy: All we represent to them, man, is somebody who needs a haircut.

George Hanson: Oh, no. What you represent to them is freedom.

Billy: What the hell's wrong with freedom?  That's what it's all about.

George Hanson: Oh yeah, that's right. That's what it's all about all right. But talking about it and being it... that's two different things. I mean it's real hard to be free when you are bought and sold in the marketplace.  'Course don't tell anybody that they're not free, because then they gonna get real busy killing and maiming to prove to you that they are.  They're going to talk to you and talk to you about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it's going to scare them.

Billy: Well, it don't make them running scared.

George Hanson: No.  It makes them dangerous.


- Easy Rider





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9.13.2013

Happy Friday the 13th!

5:25 AM 0
It's been a long dry spell for triskadecaphiles.  We haven't had a Friday the 13th since July of 2012.
That 13 calendar months without a Friday the 13th is the longest such stretch you'll ever see.  The last such dry spell was 11 years ago, ending September 13, 2002.  On that day, President Bush met with reporters, beginning to build the case for the Iraq war.  Today, President Obama is taking the day off.  On September 13, 2002, the S&P 500 traded up 0.3% to close at 890, near five-year lows.  Today the S&P has almost doubled from there for an annual total return of more than 8% and is near last month's all-time high.

The next such streak without a Friday the 13th will end September 13, 2019.  All 13-month stretches without a Friday the 13th end with a Friday the 13th in September or October.


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9.11.2013

Never forget

3:57 AM 0
... there was a time before this. There are still countries without this.






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9.10.2013

It's like ray-ay-ain on your wedding day

4:34 PM 1
Barack Obama's greatest achievement is the creation of a solid popular majority against foreign military adventurism.

Who would ever have imagined five years ago that Obama would not lead that movement, but that it would arise in opposition to him?
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Greenspan goes to Greece

11:40 AM 0
America's most prolific serial killer is terrorizing Greece:
Suicides increased by 45 percent during the first four years of Greece's financial crisis, a mental health aid group said Tuesday, warning there are indications of a further "very large rise" over the past two years.

The Athens-based group Klimaka said officially reported suicides rose steadily, accounting for an annual jump in deaths from 328 in 2007 to 477 in 2011, according to data from the Greek Statistical Authority.

The group said, based on its own research, the number of suicides has continued to rise through 2012 and 2013.

Greece still has one of the lowest suicide rates in Europe, but a dramatic rise in poverty and unemployment since the debt-strapped nation began imposing harsh austerity measures has been blamed for the increase in deaths.
"The true measure of a career is to be able to be content, even proud, that you succeeded through your own endeavors without leaving a trail of casualties in your wake." -- Alan Greenspan, June 1999

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9.09.2013

What does the fox say?

9.07.2013

Sacre bleu!

1:25 PM 0
If ever this blog is unkind to the French, it's because not all of them are as amazing as this guy.

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Life Imitates South Park

6:51 AM 1
South Park season 5, episode 7, "Proper Condom Use":
Stan and Kyle are playing with their Jennifer Lopez play set (and by playing, they are using a magnifying glass to melt it while Kyle does Lopez' screams of pain) when Cartman comes over to demonstrate something he learned from the Fifth Graders. The trio then run to Kenny's house where he then begins to masturbate Kenny's dog which leads to ejaculation, which they think is milking it and playing a game called "Red Rocket".
Encinitas Patch:
Mutilation Victim Puppy Finds his Happy Ending
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9.05.2013

House negroes told to stay silent on Syria

9:08 PM 1
Foreign Policy:
As an increasing number of African-American lawmakers voice dissent over the Obama administration's war plans in Syria, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has asked members to "limit public comment" on the issue until they are briefed by senior administration officials.

A congressional aide to a CBC member called the request "eyebrow-raising," in an interview with The Cable, and said the request was designed to quiet dissent while shoring up support for President Obama's Syria strategy. 

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9.04.2013

Hasta la vista, Ariel Castro

7:37 PM 1
So Ariel Castro, the psycho who kidnapped and imprisoned three women for years, did the taxpayers a favor and offed himself in prison. With a 20+ year life expectancy, it's safe to say he save the taxpayers at least a million bucks.

But let us not forget the silver lining from the sick and twisted tale of Ariel Castro: the discovery of the genius of hero Charles Ramsey, and the brilliant arrangement of schmoyoho.



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9.03.2013

And now let's revisit the last Middle Eastern community that Obama re-organized

5:42 PM 0
... Libya.
A little under two years ago, Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, urged British businessmen to begin “packing their suitcases” and to fly to Libya to share in the reconstruction of the country and exploit an anticipated boom in natural resources.

Yet now Libya has almost entirely stopped producing oil as the government loses control of much of the country to militia fighters.

Mutinying security men have taken over oil ports on the Mediterranean and are seeking to sell crude oil on the black market. Ali Zeidan, Libya’s Prime Minister, has threatened to “bomb from the air and the sea” any oil tanker trying to pick up the illicit oil from the oil terminal guards, who are mostly former rebels who overthrew Muammar Gaddafi and have been on strike over low pay and alleged government corruption since July.

As world attention focused on the coup in Egypt and the poison gas attack in Syria over the past two months, Libya has plunged unnoticed into its worst political and economic crisis since the defeat of Gaddafi two years ago. Government authority is disintegrating in all parts of the country putting in doubt claims by American, British and French politicians that Nato’s military action in Libya in 2011 was an outstanding example of a successful foreign military intervention which should be repeated in Syria.

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WAR!!! Boner supports Obama's Syria attack, Dow drops 80 points

9.02.2013

Young men want capital appreciation; old men want yield

12:32 PM 0
In the days of my youth, I despised dividends. My living costs were minimal, so I didn't need to supplement my earned income, and the taxes generated by dividends were an annoyance. I had a hard rule not to own any mutual funds in taxable accounts because of the unwelcome, taxable dividend and capital gain distributions.

Now I've reached that age where I'm looking at the future cost of property taxes, utilities, and ObamaCare, and realizing I'm going to need a whole lot more income than Social Security will provide. Dividends and interest now represent security. I've been re-investing dividends in my blue chip stocks to increase the annual income. And despite what I said last year about bonds, I've even begun buying some munis after this year's epic bond slaughter.

Nobody wants to have to eat into his principal to survive in his old age, but that's the reality for most seniors in the era of Bernanke's financial repression. Best prepare for it if you're still young enough to take action.
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Gee, that's going to be a tough sale

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