Quote of the Week

"Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy." --Margaret Thatcher


September 10, 2012

An Illustrative Quote

The Quote of the Decade:

"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government cannot pay its own bills.  It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies.  Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally.  Leadership means that, 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.  -- Senator Barack H. Obama, March 2006

Keep this quote going. 

March 19, 2012

Oil and Gas: Renewable and Affordable

We live in a world in which 'up' is 'down' and everything is twisted inside out; logic doesn't seem to matter anyone. Nor does keeping life affordable.  We have plenty of oil and gas, affectionately referred to as 'fossil fuel' to imply impending extinction, and it is affordable. While I love my small solar charger for my cell phone and iPod, solar and wind energy have yet to prove their viability (and more importantly, affordability) on a mass scale. 

For now we won't go into the bankruptcies and other financial problems that have occurred with politically connected companies involved in these more politically correct energy sources. That's the subject of another post.

Many people support, or at least tolerate, some funds being pumped into research on  renewable energy sources because they've been led to believe the country's gas and oil supply is limited and they want our country to be energy independent. However, pumping money in failed projects while ignoring real opportunities to increase our independence from foreign oil has the effect of making our country and economy more vulnerable to our enemies, not less.  Many of our elected leaders and their appointees would rather worship at the alter of environmentalism than act in a practical manner and investigate all viable options for energy that is both in ample supply and affordable.

Greg Lewis published an article on AmericanThinker.com on Sunday titled "What If Oil and Natural Gas Are Renewable Resources?"

Mr. Lewis states...
"The evidence is mounting that not only do we have more than a century's worth of recoverable oil in the United States alone (even if there is a limit to the earth's oil supply), but that we also actually have a limitless supply of Texas tea because oil is in fact a renewable resource that is being constantly created deep under the earth's surface and which rises upward, where microscopic organisms that thrive in the intense pressure and heat miles below us interact with and alter it.

In other words, we have an unending supply of oil, some of which is constantly migrating upward from the depths at which it is created to refill existing oil deposits, and much more of which remains far below the surface. This oil can be recovered using existing technology."

Mr. Lewis references Scientist Thomas Gold, who discusses the facts supporting the theory that the earth is constantly producing new oil very deep below its surface, and in some cases the oil flows up to replenish existing oil fields thought to be exhausted. Gold's book is titled The Deep Hot Biosphere.
We need to get this information out to the public. People need to understand that we have real options that our current leaders are not telling us.

Click here to access Greg Lewis' article.

March 5, 2012

Economic Terrorism: Weak Spots in Our Financial System

I'm halfway through newly a published book by Kevin Freeman called Secret Weapon--How Economic Terrorism Brought Down the U.S. Stock Market And Why It Can Happen Again.  He provides a brief history of economic warfare, and explains in great detail how our enemies have the motive, means and opportunity to inflict grave harm to our financial system and economy.  It's important we understand what has happened and could happen again so we can try to protect ourselves, and communicate with our elected officials about the necessary changes to protect our financial system.

While I do not consider myself to be naive about such things, I was still surprised about some of the vulnerabilities that Freeman discloses in his book. Given my practice in securities and finance, I can fully imagine the risks he describes and they are not overblown. 

Here is a summary of a few of the methods that certain countries, terror groups, and other individuals with nefarious motives can use to harm the US:

Oil manipulation--High oil prices have many causes, one of which is speculative bubbles. Hedge funds and other speculators have gotten quite active in the oil market (60-70% of oil contracts on futures market are held by speculative entities), and their activity drives up the price of a barrel of oil beyond what economic fundamental would justify; e.g., based on supply and demand, a barrel of oil ought to cost $70 but due to speculation on futures markets, the cost is well in excess of $100.  This can trigger a recession as energy costs affects us at the pump, drives up costs of our utilities, food and other goods we buy. It's a ripple effect that squeezes household budgets.

Currency and debt manipulation--Foreign governments, such as the Chinese, hold enormous amounts of U.S. debt, such as treasury bonds, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bonds. If they and/or other parties sold their holdings of U.S. debt or refused to buy any more, it would send our economy into a tailspin, possibly leading to a further downgrade of our debt. Rising interest rates and an economic collapse is not out of the realm of possibilities given how tenuous our current economic situation is already.  When you hear and read stories of the Tea Party and others warning about the massive spending by our federal government, this is why. The bigger the deficits we run up, the more we are enslaving ourselves to other countries.

Bear raids--'Bear raids' are when a short seller or a group of short sellers spread rumors or use other methods to drive down the price of a company (or bank's) stock. It's illegal but has not been well policed.  George Soros is an expert at leading bear raids. He destroyed the British pound in 1992 through a bear raid.

Credit default swaps -- Credit default swaps (CDSs) were developed by J.P. Morgan in 1994 as a mechanism for bond investors to insure their loans against default. However, CDSs are unregulated and went viral in a manner of speaking.  Let's say you bought $1 million in bonds but you insured them for $10 million, which is perfectly legal. You are essentially paying a fee to someone else to compensate you in the event of a default by the bond issuer.  You can sell the CDS to someone else. Also, the party that insured you can then buy their own insurance, for $10 million or more. Bottom line, you can hold the CDS without having any underlying interest in what is being insured. It's like one person holding fire insurance on another person's house. The first person only makes money if the second person's house catches on fire. That's perverse incentive. Also, because the amount of the CDS can be significantly greater than the original debt it insured, the fallout from a default gets magnified. Assume the bonds I referenced above defaulted. The holder insured the $1 million in bonds for $10 million. Therefore, not just the $1 million is lost; the insurer would owe the holder(s) of the CDSs $10 million. This is how a manageable amount of defaults turns into an unmanageable mess.  I'm oversimplifying, as it is much more perverse and far reaching than I can describe in a short blog post.  There's a reason, however, that some people, including Soros himself, who have referred to CDSs as weapons of mass destruction.

There are many more methods of manipulating our financial markets and economy, such as naked short selling, double and triple exchange-traded funds (ETFs), dark pools, dark markets, sovereign wealth funds and algorithmic trading, among others.  Want to know more?  BUY THE BOOK! I highly recommend it.

February 27, 2012

Follow the Money and Add Sunshine

There has always been money around elections and always will be. The more centralized the governmental power, then the more those with money will spend it to gain advantage for themselves. As a result, strong centralized governments with far reaching regulations always leads to crony capitalism, a bastardized version of a truly free market. You want to take some of the money out of Washington, and to a lesser degree, our state capitals, then reduce the size and reach of government. In the meantime, we will continue to see tons of money poured into elections and major legislative issues; not to mention the behind the scenes lobbying of regulators as they draft more and more rules the rest of us have to live by.

Many bemoan the Supreme Court's "Citizens United " decision and cite the creation of Super PACs that followed as justification for their view. I don't. I will always defend people's free speech rights and that was the point of the court decision, which stood in support of our First Amendment rights.The reason I don't despise Super PACs as much as others is Super PACs have to file regular FEC reports. This money isn't in the shadows anymore.

Want to know more about a particular Super PAC and where it's money is coming from. Go to the Sunlight Foundation's web site. They run a 'follow the money' page that identifies the Super PACs who are raising money, provides basic information about each and links you to the FEC filings.

Want to get the money out of the shadows? You'll never succeed in removing it, so pour sunshine on it!

February 20, 2012

The State and Local Governments Lead the Way

Listening to the news this morning and hearing about different initiatives that local mayors, county commissioners and executives and the governor are pursuing was encouraging and a great start to a week.  Then the national news came on and pulled me back a bit.  We have much to worry about with all the instability in the world, both economic and more violent forms.

Our state and local leaders are not letting that get in their way.  Across the country states are reforming their taxes and labor laws to make it a more attractive place to expand businesses and to live. Local leaders are tackling problems with their schools and streamlining their bloated bureaucracies to bring them under control.

If only our federal government could learn from them.  While states work to make business expansion (i.e., job creation) a reality, we face tax increases of all types and sizes hidden in the health care bill that will take effect next year along with huge increases in our income tax rates due to the expiration of the Bush tax rates.  The NLRB goes out of its way to carry water for the unions at the expense of job creation.  The EPA forces electric providers to shut down electricity generation plants driving our utility costs higher. Federal mandates and subsidies drive more corn into ethanol production and out of food production, exacerbating higher food prices here and all parts of the world. Federal intransigence thwarts energy exploration and production in the US at every step.

What amazes me most is that many of our state and local leaders have managed to succeed as much as they have despite these tremendous federal head winds pushing back against them. They deserve medals.

February 13, 2012

The Shadow Party and Regime Change in the United States

Back in 2006 I read a book titled "The Shadow Party; How George Soros, Hillary Clinton, and Sixties Radicals seized control of the Democratic Party" by David Horowitz and Richard Poe. Messrs. Horowitz and Poe were major radicals in the 1960's. They were on the inside of the new left movement when it started and know better than anyone the danger our free republic is facing.

In The Shadow Party the authors detailed the ambition of George Soros and other like minded people to effect regime change (2008 was the goal) and rewrite the US Constitution.

There are 5 stages to causing a regime change:

First, you establish a 'shadow government' by infiltrating your people into government at all levels, including the military.  The SOS Project was funded to recruit and help elect Secretaries of State in the various US States. A state's Secretary of State office oversees the election process in the state, which can come in handy if you intend to push the envelope on election strategies and need sympathetic person in a position of oversight.

Second, control the air waves.  Has anyone bothered to read the New York Times or turn on network news, or worse yet, MSNBC or CNN? I think the radical left has already succeeded with this one. The latest event is the layoff of all Israeli personnel out of the Israel bureau of CNN. Now CNN's news in that country will only be reported from the Palestinian point of view.

Third, destabilize the state by creating a crisis or take advantage of an existing crisis.  The housing crisis and financial crisis have been helpful for the institution of new sweeping regulations and government takeover of key sectors of the US Economy. But for the financial meltdown in October, would we even have had the same outcome in the November election?  With Greece burning, the future of the Euro in question, more crises may be coming our way.  The Occupy movement would then find new life and ratchet up its activities (with the help of unions and others sympathetic in government).  The New York Times on Saturday published an article on how the Occupy movement is regrouping and planning its 'next phase.'

Fourth, provoke an election crisis -- declare an election result fraudulent or have the election cancelled due to an ongoing crisis.  Think those secretaries of state Soros money helped elect might come in handy here, not to mention all the others on the far left who are now part of the 'ruling class'?

Fifth, stage massive demonstrations - get activists in the street.  The Occupy protests last summer were just the beginning. They struck me as a trial run to work out the kinks. This spring or summer, we may get a taste of Occupy 2.0. I hope to God I'm wrong.

While we've been focused on living our day-to-day lives, a lot of activities has been going on.  Fortunately for us, we have DiscoverTheNetworks.org; a web site affiliated with Mr. Horowitz and FrontPage Magazine.  On this site you can find the linkages between individuals and groups, their networks and agenda.  It's a valuable resource for all of us.  The key to stopping any regime change by the radical left is knowledge.

Most importantly, understand this...chaos, and the confusion and fear it creates, will be used to manipulate people.  Remember Rahm Emanuel's statement to the Wall Street Journal after the election in 2008...

"You never want a serious crisis to go to waste, and what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you didn't think you could do before."


February 6, 2012

How do you turn a free society into a socialist/marxist state?

Nationalize the economy

·         Health Care.  Federal control now exists of health care system (Obamacare), combine with Medicaid expansions and Medicare

·         Education.  Federal grants to universities and students, federal control instituted over student loan programs (Obamacare)

·         Auto Industry. (federal control through bailout of GM and Chrysler resulting in bailout of unions at expense of secured lenders and federal ownership of company stock; federal CAFE standards and related federal and state environmental laws and regulations

·         Banking; Financial Sector.  Through TARP (bailouts resulted in federal ownership of many institutions), Dodd-Frank (The reach of its regulations goes way beyond federal banks and Wall Street)

·         Energy.  Environmental regulations are choking our energy sector. Remember that every time you faint over your electric bill or fill you tank up with gas.  Ohio is losing for electricity generating plants due to EPA regulations.  Want to build a pipe line or drill for oil in the Gulf? Good luck getting that permit.  There is very little, if anything, in the energy sector that isn't heavily regulated and taxed.

·     Labor.  Anyone paying attention to what DOL and the NLRB has been doing?  It's all about strengthening labor unions at the expense of private enterprise. As an employer, you have increasingly less control over your own workplace.

Redistribution of Wealth

·         Our President has been on record since his election campaign in 2008 that he wants redistribution of income

·         Changes in tax laws advocated by the President and others are directed towards redistribution of income, not raising income to the US Treasury to pay the bills

·         Representatives of current WH administration on record stating health care legislation is about redistributing wealth (e.g., effect of expanded Medicaid coverage is to take more income from taxpayers and redistribute it to others)

·         The goal is to have more people dependent on the federal handouts than those who pay for the handouts. Those dependent on the handouts would vote to keep in office the officials who will keep the handouts coming. This group already constitutes approx. 48% of all households.


·         Hate crime laws allows governments at all levels to selectively prosecute those who hold opinions that are at odds with whatever is politically correct at the time.

·         Internet laws – Can anyone say SOPA and PIPA? Classics examples of legislation drafted to addressed legitimate concerns but designed to be used for much more than that.

Gun Control

·         UN Small Arms Treaty—with the courts and public opinion running against gun control, the President and Secretary of State Clinton have come out in support of the United Nations’ small arms treaty. It’s a back door way to force more gun control domestically that could never be passed legitimately through a legislature.

·         Fast and Furious—Until it blew up, this was a scheme run out of the Department of Justice to secretly sell weapons to Mexican drug cartels so the presence of US guns in Mexico could be used to advocate for more gun control here in the US

·         George Mason: "To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them..."

·         George Washington:  ''A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.”

·         George Washington also said: "Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and the keystone under independence."

Discredit the Opposition

·         Anyone remember Dept of Homeland Security memos identifying right wing groups, pro-2nd Amendment groups and returning veterans as serious national security threats but totally ignoring Islamic extremists? Those prior groups are mostly a threat to her personal job security as they are more likely to vote her boss out of office.

·         Listen to speeches of our President, Vice President, the WH press secretary and others with the sarcasm and ridicule directed at anyone who disagrees with their position on issues.

·         Notice how media coverage is given on various mass shootings? It’s always assumed that the shooter is a right winger acting out rage induced by Sarah Palin and discussion on the air typically runs with these assumptions. How many times have those same media outlets corrected themselves and covered the fact that these shooters were frequently liberal politically?

·         Challenge liberal dogma on climate change and expect to be attacked as a ‘flat earther’ or worse.  Keep in mind that climate change 'concerns' serve as the basis for many onerous and intrusive regulations at all levels of government 

National Police Force

·         The TSA was supposed to provide regulation and oversight of airport security. It has morphed into a large domestic security force; and it is expanding into our bus and train stations

·         Trains, Planes and Automobiles--Surprise random security checks have been held at ports and bus stations. What’s next? Random stops on interstate highways?  Anybody read the 4th amendment to the US Constitution lately?