Friday, July 31, 2009

Gold Ads and Advertisers Bug Me

Gold Ads and Advertisers Bug Me

Ok, I have just about had it with these Gold ads. After the last six months of hearing that, what with the bad economy, we need to invest in Gold, I had just about tuned them out. Now that there is a little economic news that is being taken as "Good News" the next wave of Gold Bugs attack - with the economy recovering, we need to invest in GOLD!!

Now, I don't listen to a lot of television or radio, but there is usually one playing near by, but even so, all the shows I watch on TV and everything I hear on radio is completely full of ads telling me to BUY GOLD!! Now, wait a minute...

Is there any other investment that advertises itself this way? Stock brokers, banks, car makers, etc. are all telling me to make my purchases with THEM. They don't say: "You really need a car. You are too stupid to know this, but a car is a really good way to get around. Buy a car today! By the way, please buy it from us." But the gold sellers have to convince you to buy their questionable product in the first place.

Don't get me wrong - I LIKE gold. I own a lot of it for the same reason I have a lot of ammunition - if our economy or even civilized society ever breaks down it will be a good thing to have. But as an investment it is about the worst thing there is. It goes up, it goes down. $300 one year, $1000 the next. But, as a metal, its value over time will definitely go down. That is the nature of things, and the lesson of history. Commodities like that are subject to a nasty boom/bust cycle. Price goes up, and the miners invest in more equipment and dig more holes, so supply goes up, therefore the price goes down. Gold is about one thou right now. This ad I just heard thought the listeners to be such stupid marks that it said that, the last time gold was a thousand, if we correct for inflation that would be two thousand dollars today! That does not mean it will go up to two thousand, it means that the value is declining over time, as supply increases and technology improves.

Now, for all I know gold will go the two grand, or even five. I buy lotto tickets too. But these vultures trying to convince people on limited incomes to spend their money on a commodity are just plain evil. Commodities trading is well known to be the most dangerous type of investing. but the gold bugs are trying to make some people believe that GOLD is in a category unto itself. That's fraud. That's nasty. I hate it.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Fundamentally Dishonest

Fundamentally Dishonest

We can now see, if we remove our blinders, that the Obama administration is a fundamentally dishonest enterprise. From the stimulus to cap and tax to health care, they have not been honest on the most basic level - not about what they want, not about what their proposals contain. An interesting example can be found by examining their latest fraud, the Gates affair.

The Gates affair is, if truth be told, about how the power equation between citizens and police officers is horribly out of step with our American ideals, but race hustlers have made it into something else. The fundamental dishonesty is shown by the participation of the Obama administration in this story. Anyone can be dishonest, but Obama is guilty of findamental dishonesty. Let me show you what i mean.

Obama got himself elected by representing himself as something new in American politics, and something new in the life of Barack Obama. He represented himself as the "Post-Racial" candidate. That was supposed to mean that he was beyond race - that his father African genetic makeup was not an issue. A fundamental lie. How do we know this was an example of fundamental mendacity? We know from Obama's own words.

He was asked about this in Wednesday's presser. It has been revealed that the question was seeded by David Axelrod, and queued up to be the last question that Barry was asked. And he used this self-generated opportunity to make this an entoirely racial situation. He said that the cop was, at least "stupid" for not recognizing the superiority of Gates, and claimed that it was a racial incident. Yet any honest American knows that if you confront a cop in public, you will be in for a hard time. White, black, yellow, or green, tell a cop that you will have his job and you get a free transit to the hoosegow. We all know that. But Obama used this as an opportunity to harangue us all on racism. That is fundamentally dishonest, for the "post-racial" president.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Energy Follies

Energy Follies

There is a lot of loose talk going around on alternative energy, with advocates saying we can produce all the energy we need with wind and solar. From what I understand, there is not enough power potential for all our energy needs to be supplied that way, unless nuclear is included. Even with a solar cell so efficient that has not been invented yet, we would need to completely cover Arizona and half of New Mexico with solar cells or mirrors to come close to our electrical needs that are currently covered with coal. That does nothing for the energy requirements of future electric cars.

Wind and solar-electric power suffers from being unreliable. Conventional power plants would need to remain online to cover the periods of little wind. Entire seasons suffer from far less wind than others. Also sufficient wind exists only is a few locations. We will need a new technology of power transmission, and an entire new electric transmission grid, to properly power the entire country from the few sites with large wind resources.

Two big problems remain, and they are concerned with the balancing of energy needs and environmental concerns. One is - If we cover the desert southwest with solar production, what happens to the little creatures of the desert? What about our pristine areas? Monument Valley anyone? Water plants do damage to the fish populations. What about the Salmon lobby? What about little fishies we don't even know about yet? And some eminent scientists have postulated that if we install enough wind farms to make a real dent in our power needs, the power, which will be extracted from the wind, might very well make a substantial change to surface winds, affecting weather or (gasp!) climate.

The second problem is that advocates of Wind, Water, and Solar power generation schemes forget that all three are truly Solar power. Climate on planet earth has always tended to change. If we do this stuff and the amount of insolation goes down, where will we be then?

Clearly, with unlimited power within any old molecule in the universe, we must include some form of nuclear power in any intelligent discussion of solving our energy needs while cutting down emissions. We don't need to wait for quantum energy generation to become available, or fusion. We have useful and proven nuclear fission technologies available right now. What we need is the political will to allow them. In the meantime, anyone who claims to believe that carbon dioxide is causing us problems but is against nuclear power is either not serious, or has a hidden agenda.

Obama's Masters

Obama's Masters

Bill Ayers, Saul Alinsky, Reverend Wright. A sorry and sordid bunch. We voted for a man who was sold to us as a centrist, and we got - well, we can all see what we got. There are conspiracy fans out there who believe that we are under the control of a secret cabal. I can not agree.

It is true that we arrived here in large measure due to a KGB plot that was kicked off by Stalin, before the KGB even existed. When McCarthy and Cohn got the commies kicked out of government the KGB started to subvert our system in another way. KGB defectors have testified to this. Yuri Bezmenov is only one of them, but since his YouTube video has been posted all over the web, many people know about him. In 1983 he predicted the entire Obama phenomenon. This has been a long time coming. All about co-opting the press and academe, Acorn and the rest, twenty five years ago.

But the Soviet empire is gone. The KGB is no more. This thing is not under central control. Many Americans have become leftists, especially the very rich and their charitable trusts. Banks and traders love having their partnership with a neo-fascist government also. But it is not a centralized conspiracy. It is a diffuse amalgam of people and groups with similar interests, bucked up by the usual assortment of special interests and useful idiots.

But the important thing to remember is not that we are subject to a movement the Soviet KGB hatched. The important thing is that most Americans have no idea that this is happening, and will assert their will if and when they get riled up. We are still a conservative country, and the only reason we have a Manchurian Candidate in The White House is that the media sold him as a centrist. But the bloom is coming off that rose.

The result of recent news, IMHO, is that more Americans will be drawn to take notice of what is happening. It is, after all, the voters and not the citizens that decide these matters. After all the hooplah last year in the campaign, the young and the blacks really didn't show up to vote. It was the moderates who delivered us into this deadly embrace. In a year and a half, we may see a big change in the congress. Unless and until illegal immigrants and Acorn take over the elections, there will still be time to stop this. If we turn aside those two threats, we can return to some semblance of normality.

BTW, I am not giving up on the Hispanic immigrants. Even if all twelve million illegals are given the vote, they didn't come here for welfare - they came here for opportunity. Granting them the franchise may well backfire on the left. That is why some republicans favor making them at home here. While I don't agree with that, I can see that it might not be the worst outcome. I would much rather have this turn into a half Spanish nation than a Muslim one.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Car Czar Quits, Union Man Replaces Him

Car Czar Quits, Union Man Replaces Him

Announced today is the news that Steve Rattner, former investment banker who has led president Obama’s auto task force during the takeover of GM and the bankruptcy of Chrysler, has decided to quit his job. The Obama administration, not missing a beat, has slipped a union guy, Ron Bloom, in as his replacement.

Consistent with Obama's use of so-called "Czars" to obfuscate the links between the industries involved and the administration's machinations, we know very little about Bloom, but we are just now learning about the federal investigation into Rattner. Something was alleged about kickbacks sought by officials linked to government pension plans from Rattner's "former" venture capital firm:
Mr Rattner's brief tenure was not without controversy. The White House was accused of sidestepping the Senate's scrutiny of administration nominees by naming him a mere member of a taskforce - rather than the touted "car czar" - even though he assumed charge of one of the biggest state interventions in US industry.

After his move to Washington, his former private equity firm Quadrangle was caught up in an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission into alleged kickbacks sought by people linked to the New York state comptroller's office.

Nothing to see here, just move along...

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Health Care Facts

Health Care Facts

The democrats in congress are bound and determined to pass health care reform legislation this summer, and the republicans are set to resist them in any way they can. In such a partisan atmosphere, truth has been the first casualty. Politicians believe We the People to be stupid in the first place and gullible in the second, so neither side feels the need to be very truthful about the challenges we face in finding a solution to rising health care costs. Eleven years selling the stuff has given me a thorough understanding of health insurance, and I AM a zero base thinker. Even so I can not differentiate between the liars and the clueless. I can, however, see clearly that the debate we are having about this subject suffers from a dearth of accurate information. A few random points for clarification and discussion:


Reducing costs is the stated aim of both sides of the debate, but the obvious ways to do so are seemingly off the table. The two most important reasons medical costs are out of control are:

1) The consumer of health services does not pay for them, so patients have no interest in reducing costs. Actually, it is in the patient's interest to run costs up as far as possible, once the deductible or co-pay has been passed. It is common for patients to game the system. Within the current public insurance options, calling an ambulance to avoid the wait in the emergency room is common. This is mostly a medicaid or medicare problem, since most private plans avoid the ER for trivial or routine procedures, and will not pay for these frivolous charges. Yet government run plans are promoted as a way to save money. Are any of the government plans on offer even beginning to address such abuse? (The answer is "No.")

2) Malpractice claims have done a lot of the cost inflation, both in the cost of each service or procedure performed and the number or volume of services needed or demanded to be performed. No plans to reduce or reform malpractice in any meaningful way are in any bill with a chance to pass congress, and the president is not calling for any.

The 800 pound gorilla in the room is this - reduction in costs will require a reduction in services, especially in the last few weeks and months of life. All professionals agree on this point, yet it is almost never discussed. Costs can only be reduced by making patients pay more, or by providing fewer services to fewer people, or both.


Life is full of injustice. Government vs. private enterprise is the battleground. People of the right distrust government, people of the left distrust private enterprise. Both sides seek more power to control and deny services to patients, but neither side will face this honestly. Just about every public participant in the debate, on either side, already possesses a tiffany plan, so their mendacity is not fostered by any personal need for better benefits. They believe themselves to be in a class that will withstand this attack on our health care coverage. Congress has already exempted themselves - and their employees - from any changes to their own coverage, and democrats have protected their chief supporters, the unions, from any untoward change. What does that say about their truthfulness?


Misapprehension of mortality tables on life expectancy. It is often pointed out by the advocates of reform that American longevity is not the best on Earth. This seems to be a willful manipulation of the data by those who understand it, and cluelessness by the rest. Our mortality rate from birth is indeed down the list, but we also have a high rate of death from causes that will not be affected by health insurance. For instance, we have a higher murder rate among our young men, we have a high rate of obesity and diabetes. Clearly we are not about to outlaw gun ownership or fine dining, and our food banks are not about to change to a lower carbohydrate (read higher cost) diet for the needy. Factor out these causes of death, and America scores in the top three in the world by any other measure of mortality. But reading and comparing mortality tables is difficult, thus we are not privy to this information so we can decide for ourselves. Suffice it to say that we have the best survival rates from most deadly diseases, and the longest longevity in our populations from age forty onward.


Allocation of resources, public and private. Right now those who have insurance are those who pay a lot for it, either by direct payment or their employer does. Any public health insurance offering will of necessity see many current payers decline to continue to do so, knowing that the public plan will pick up the coverage. This is a major, though little appreciated, outcome of any government plan.


Pre-existing condition trap. Our praise-seeking political class is quite fond of pointing out that denying coverage for pre-existing conditions is a big part of the problem. But what they never mention is that, without the ability to deny such coverage, any younger healthy person would go without coverage, or buy the very cheapest plan, if they knew they could switch to a tiffany plan if (when) they become sick. Not addressing this fact makes a single payer plan, with every citizen being forced to have the same coverage, necessary.

Now that we have some version of a patient's bill of rights in every state EVERYBODY has access to health care. Some states are better than others, but in any of them the state owned hospitals must offer care to anyone who presents himself with a disease. Of course, hospitals charge more than any doctor, but many doctors will not treat patients without immediate payment. What this means is, like always, the middle class gets the worst deal, since they have assets to forfeit if they can't (or won't) pay their bill. The poor and the well off are fine, but the great mass of humanity in the middle often fall through the cracks.

These are weighty issues, and they must be addressed, but I have not seen anything being proposed in congress that realistically addresses the situation rationally. Rather it is being addressed demagogically. If we are to engage in cost cutting, we should know in advance - What SERVICES are to be cut? Until that subject is engaged, we are being lied to by the party in power. If they ram through a partisan bill with no support from the other side, that will be a tragedy.

Feminists vs. Sarah Palin

Feminists vs. Sarah Palin

We have read the left's response to Sarah Palin's resignation announcement, and none were more egregious than Maureen Dowd's. It is so unfair that Dowdy Dowd and her ilk refer to themselves as "Feminists," even as they hurl invective and hate speech at women who have the temerity to be openly conservative. It is unfair to anyone who believes in equal rights for women, unfair to anyone who believes Dowd to be a Feminist herself.

In the sixties I got to know a few rising stars of the nascent feminist movement, and to them, back then, Sarah Palin would have been close to the ideal woman. She doesn't merely manage to have a career as well as a family, she has five kids and became Governor of the nation's largest state. She can kill, gut, and cook a moose while ordering hundreds of men on her staff to do her bidding. There is no ceiling, glass or otherwise, above her in Alaska. A real "twentieth century woman," this Hockey Mom actually plays the game, as opposed to Hockey Moms who merely deliver their kidss to the games.

Even today, a few Feminists, carriers of the torch raised back in the day by Betty Friedan, Jackie Ceballos and Kate Millet, women like Camille Paglia, openly admire Sarah Palin, but the "feminist" organizations have been taken over by the abortion crew and the committed Left. Of course, Betty, Kate, Jackie, and Camille were/are lesbians, but they never had anything against breeders before. National Organization for Women is a lesbian organization, sure, but while they do not hate female breeders per se, they do hate straight women who actually breed. Abortion has become the defining issue for radical "feminists," and women who can succeed without giving in to the cruelly selfish "abortion for convenience" paradigm make them look bad. And they hate nothing more than looking bad.

The real reason leftist women (and feminized men) hate Sarah so ferociously may be Hilary Clinton's fate in the 2008 election. They thought that Hilary would be coronated - they believed that it was their turn to finally attain real power. But along came a black man who hadn't paid his dues, and he wiped Hilary out. (Remember, as Andrew Breitbart put it, "Black beats white. Gay beats white. Black beats gay.") This was almost more than they could take, and the idea that maybe it WAS their year, but it would be a conservative woman who crossed the finish line first, sent them over the edge - Sarah became anathema to them. So they went stark raving mad, their lack of self control came to the surface. All their rules of political correctness, even years of steady progress against hate speech, went right out the window.

Or, as Breitbart put it, writing about the leaders of the whining pussy patrol Maureen Dowd, Katie Couric, and Tina Fey, the liberal women leading the charge against Sarah:
But since Mrs. Palin, a mother of five including a boy who was known to have Down syndrome before he was born, is a potent symbol of the pro-life movement, she is considered an enemy of the sisterhood."

Miss Dowd's attempted takedown of Mrs. Palin is less skillful surgery than it is name calling using fun noun and adjective pairings. Think "Mad Libs." And, that's exactly what Misses Dowd, Couric and Fey are. Once the ladies did their job, liberal men like Jon Stewart and David Letterman had the cover to join the hate campaign.

While Mrs. Palin is at ease with her gender, as well as her place in the workplace and at home, Misses Dowd, Couric and Fey convey a base insecurity in their feminine skin. Their rage is fueled by liberalism's false feminist dogma and they take it out on a woman who chose not to join their angry sorority.
We will know before too long what Sarah's real ambitions are, and what degree of success she will attain. But we know exactly the route taken and the goal of today's false feminism. It is ugly, it is destructive, and so far, it has failed.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Character Traits Examined, But Whose?

Character Traits Examined, But Whose?

An interesting study has been reported recently, and it might surprise some people. A sample:
Interpersonal traits include glibness, superficial charm, a grandiose sense of self-worth, pathological lying, and the manipulation of others. The affective traits include a lack of remorse and/or guilt, shallow affect, a lack of empathy, and failure to accept responsibility. The lifestyle behaviors include stimulation-seeking behavior, impulsivity, irresponsibility, parasitic orientation, and a lack of realistic life goals.
Who do you suppose this is about? Obama or Dillinger? Check this out:
What doesn't go unnoticed is the fact that some of the character traits exhibited by serial killers or criminals may be observed in many within the political arena. While not exhibiting physical violence, many political leaders display varying degrees of anger, feigned outrage and other behaviors. They also lack what most consider a "shame" mechanism. Quite simply, most serial killers and many professional politicians must mimic what they believe, are appropriate responses to situations they face such as sadness, empathy, sympathy, and other human responses to outside stimuli.
Zero base thinkers should take this analysis seriously. It may not surprise us, but seeing this in a peer reviewed study is definitely food for thought.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Obama plans to destroy General Motors

Obama plans to destroy General Motors

Well, maybe he is merely clueless about automobiles, and public policy regarding same, but his proposed (and now passed) new Cafe standards almost guarantee that GM can not make a profit. The Wall Street Journal has an article that tells the tale well, although it is knowledge all zero base thinkers have known for a long long time. Making an auto maker's legal ability to sell profitable, larger cars and light trucks dependent upon its ability to sell a corresponding number of high MPG vehicles. We will still be able to buy gas guzzlers, we will just have to get them from non-American makers.
The actual Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) results will depend on the mixture of fuel-thrifty and fuel-thirsty vehicles consumers choose to buy from each manufacturer -- not on what producers hope to sell. That means only those companies most successful in selling the smallest cars with the smallest engines will, in the future, be allowed to sell the more profitable larger pickups and SUVs and more powerful luxury and sports cars.

Sales of Toyota's Prius, Yaris, Corolla and Scion, for example, allow and encourage Toyota to market more Lexus 460s, Sequoia SUVs and Tundra pickups in the U.S. without incurring fines. Hyundai's success selling Accent and Elantra compacts allows it to sell 368-horsepower Genesis sedans.

Similarly, Ford has the Toyota-licensed hybrid Fusion and will soon produce the European Ford Fiesta in Mexico. Chrysler will soon have Fiats. But what does GM have?

No independent reviewer suggests that the Chevy Aveo and Cobalt are credible contenders in the small car field. Even the president's auto task force finds the electric Chevy Volt "unviable," since it will lose money unless priced above a Cadillac CTS.
To continue offering a Toyota-like array of larger cars and trucks under ever-tighter CAFE rules, GM would have to capture a much larger share of the market for small and/or diesel-powered vehicles. Unfortunately, European and Asian car makers have decades more experience building reliable subcompact cars and diesel engines for their local markets -- where consumers face steep taxes on gasoline and large engines.

General Motors does produce competitive cars and trucks, but not one of them is small. Consumer Reports recommends three GM cars and three GM trucks. The recommended cars are the Chevy Malibu (the unrecommended hybrid has been dropped), the large Buick Lucerne and the Cadillac DTS. Consumer Reports recommends the Chevy Avalanche and Silverado and the GMC Sierra trucks. Car enthusiast magazines insist on adding Camaro, Corvette and the 556-horsepower Cadillac CTS-V to that list.

Among those nine best GM vehicles, only the four-cylinder Malibu achieved as much as 25 mpg in Consumer Reports testing. The others get 12-17 mpg, yet they are no less fuel-efficient than comparable foreign brands. The Environmental Protection Agency rates the mileage of the Toyota Sienna van and Nissan Titan pickup as worst in their class, and comparable Chevys as best. Unlike GM, however, Japanese car companies sell enough small cars to offset the large and thus hold down the average figures.

General Motors is likely to become profitable only if it is allowed to specialize in what it does best -- namely, midsize and large sedans, sports cars, pickup trucks and SUVs. The company can't possibly afford to scrap billions of dollars of equipment used to produce its best vehicles simply to please politicians who would rather see GM start from scratch, wasting more taxpayer money on "retooling" to produce unwanted and unprofitable subcompacts and electric cars. The average mileage of GM's future cars won't matter if nobody buys them.

Politicians are addicted to CAFE standards because they create an illusion of doing something sometime in the future without voters experiencing the slightest inconvenience in the present. Tighter future CAFE rules will have no effect at all on the type of vehicles we choose to buy. Their only effect will be to compel us to buy larger and more powerful vehicles from foreign manufacturers. Americans will still buy Jaguars, but from an Indian firm, Tata, rather than Ford. They'll buy Hummers, but from a Chinese firm, Tengzhong, rather than GM. The whole game is a charade; symbolism without substance.
There is a lot more. Read the whole thing.