Thursday, August 13, 2009

Recess is Over

Okay, so, through clever manipulations, corporate earnings are way worse than they are reporting (and getting worser, possibly the worsest twelve months ever). The 9.4 unemployment rate is just as cleverly manipulated and getting worse. Government debt levels have broken all records. In fact, our witless Treasury Secretary has requested to raise the debt ceiling to an unspecified level. But wait! Over a quarter of homes with mortgages are under water. Yes, I know "worser" and "worsest" are not real words. Consumer sentiment is in the tank again. Foreclosure notices are up handsomely. It appears another debt bubble is about to pop--actually thousands of tiny little debt bubbles in the form of emerging market micro-finance. Ummm, what else? Oh yeah. Frustration and civil unrest within our unRepresentative Republic is, finally and thankfully, on the rise.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Socialism Is Now

You know what happens when government gets into bed with business? Nothing good. It's called Socialism--a term that over the past forty years has been over-used, missapplied and consequently watered down.

Until last night's breaking General Motors news, AIG had been the most recent and glaring example of the U.S. government's abortion of capitalism.

Side Bar
Hopefully I don't have to convince you of why the President of these United States of America shouldn't be in the business of hiring and firing employees of private companies. Just in case I do, though, forget for a minute the obvious: that socialism leads to fascism or communism (Nazis and Soviets), that socialism leaves no motivation for producers or high acheivers who create jobs and economic growth.

The thing that socialists should be most catious about it playing class war games. Both Ds and Rs have been doing it for, I don't know, probably around 150 years. But now that they aren't even trying to hide their socialist agenda any more, they run a potentially deadly risk by trying to recruit "the worker" to their cause, gaining pluralistic support.

Why "deadly?" There are always going to be more workers than employers. And if enough of the workers are pissed off enough to elect representatives who forgoe free market principles, then they aren't that far away from being pissed off enough to commit acts of violence on others who they perceive as oppressors.

Case in point: French workers holding Sony and 3M executives hostage. "Locking up managers is becoming a tradition in French labor disputes, with police unwilling to intervene to avoid violence."
End Side Bar

Of course Obama's government had no problem appointing a new CEO for AIG. As the largest shareholder, Obama had all kinds of legal authority. But there is NO WAY--none, zero, nada, I don't care how much money they borrowed from the gov't--he can reasonably justify a de facto firing of GM's CEO. And how the hell is it going to help anyway? Let GM's board make the hiring and firing decisions--not some politician who's closest connection to the auto biz is picking the leather color in his Presidential limo.

Obama said in his press conference today that Wagoner had to go because GM couldn't produce a good enough restructuring plan. He said the same damn thing about Chrysler. Why isn't their CEO fired?

Thankfully my hope is resting comfortably on sure footing. My hope is based on God's proven faithfulness.

I love my country and I believe in my fellow citizens. I believe they will wake up. I also know that nations rise and fall. So far, no nation has lasted forever, but God's love for us will. We were born disconnected from Him; and our live's work is to repair that connection because that is what brings peace.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I Love Tubing.

Ever been tubing? I don't mean tubing like down a lazy river tied to a floating cooler and six-pack. What I'm talking about is fast currents, sharp rocks, deep pools, white knucles and an old inflated semi-truck innertube. Damn. I love tubing.

Wells, folks, right now we're tubing. (And by "we" I mean the whole developed world.) And it's about time. The lazy river days are over.

We've just passed the first set of rapids. Now we're catching our breath, floating over a really deep pool, straining to see the bottom. The stock markets are up and Spring is quickly approaching. I'm going to enjoy this time.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

News does NOT drive the markets.

(except in rare cases)

Like yesterday. Stocks were pulling back (over 100 points on the DJI), gold futures were declining (hanging around 890/oz.), nothing too amazing was going on with the US Dollar or Euro. Then, the Federal Reserve Bank spoke and an inflation bomb went off.

The Fed, which had already been paying the Dollar Ferry double overtime, announced it would buy over a trillion dollars in debt consisting of US Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities. Of course, the Fed doesn't have a trillion dollars, so they will simply create new accounts that magically have money in them. No, seriously, that is literally what they do.

Conventional thinking says (or thinks, I guess) that if new money appears out of thin air, then inflation happens. Conventional thinking goes on to think that when inflation happens the dollar isn't worth poop so I better get my hands on some other kind of money like the Euro or real gold.

So that's what happened. As soon as that news came out, the US Dollar (versus a basket of other currencies) dropped like a bowling ball in a swimming pool, and the Euro and gold futures went up like a fart in a swimming pool. The Euro gained around 6 cents, which is a HUGE one day move, and gold went from 886/oz. to 950/oz., which is also a huge one day move.

Stocks also reversed dramatically, ending the day 90 points (DJI) to the positive. Long US Treasury bonds also had an interesting day yesterday. If the stock market is as good an indicator of social mood as I believe it is, it looks like the mood of the masses is softening a little. Good. This is a well-deserved break (probably several months) that may chop this depression up into two or three pieces before it's really over.

Here's the thing about inflation. I sorta make fun of "conventional thinking" because, while there's no doubt this is an inflationary move, it's not going to make much of a dent in the 10+ trillion dollars of deflation we've experienced through stock, bond, real estate and commodity price losses that started around October of 2007.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Stuff Spy Movies are Made of.

Russia has been licking its chops, waiting for the U.S. to elect someone like B.O. with soft foreign policies. Appeasing and apologizing, false bluster and weak spines in his State department are going to set us back decades by the end of his first term.

The President of Kyrgyzstan opted to ally with Putin; and the demise of our base there is practically a foregone conclusion unless level-headed Kyrgies (don't know if that's a real word) oppose the plan. Now, one who had taken the American side has suffered his own demise. Read the story. This is no coincidence.

Many have feared that the extended War on Terror would open the door for un-opposed Russian and/or Chinese expansion of military power and influence on needy countries.

Russia is reaching its military tentacles into Latin America. China is starting to flex its naval muscles (in the water--not in the abdomen). And, as we all know, the sitch is getting worse in Mexico.

What does this have to do with hope during a depression? I'll explain next time. Right now the Mrs. is kicking me off so she can look up something equally as important on or

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I ain't as dumb as you think I is.

I don't claim to have many wise, original thoughts. All the wisdom I have I use to seek wiser, more eloquent men and women.

This from David Wilkerson: "I believe that as we’re surrounded by chaos and hysteria in the coming days, America is going to witness the greatest testimony of God’s glory and power it has even seen."

In other news, have you noticed the unprecedented number of times the word unprecedented has been thrown around the past couple of years? Well, just like the U.K. before them, Switzerland is now taking unprecedented moves to stabilize its currency.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Oyarsa, here we come.

This, from C.S. Lewis' book Out of the Silent Planet, struck me last night as being appropriate.

The main character, Ransom, is stranded on an alien planet and has lost his new friend to a bullet that was meant for himself. Ransom is now on a painful journey away from the attackers, toward a creature called Oyarsa.

"He looked back on that time as on a nightmare, on his own mood at that time as sort of sickness. Then all had been whimpering, unanalysed, self-nourishing, self-consuming dismay. Now, in the clear light of an accepted duty, he felt fear indeed, but with it a sober sense of confidence in himself and in the world, and even an element of pleasure. It was the difference between a landsman in a sinking ship and a horesman on a bolting horse: either may be killed, but the horseman is an agent as well as a patient."

There are battles that lie ahead in a war over which God has promised victory.

Monday, March 9, 2009

17th Bank Failure This Year

During the Great Depression thousands of banks failed. I would like to see a study: I bet back then a bank didn't have hundreds of branches.

Starting with Douglass Nat'l Bank on 1/25/08, if we add up the number of branches of the banks that have failed (or propped up) would it be pretty close to G.D. numbers?

List of failed backs here.