Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Hitting Home

Unfortunately, I'm old enough to have been a "protester" during the Vietnam War. One of the popular ways we protested was to refuse to pay the then newly-instituted telephone tax, created expressly to "help pay for the Vietnam War". This amounted to about 86 cents per month on my family's bill.

Each month the unpaid balance would be carried forward to the next month. After a few months it might be $2.86 (all numbers approximate). Eventually I got a notice saying that if I didn't pay the tax, they would take measures. They wouldn't turn off your phone, because then you wouldn't have to pay the tax. But they would take measures.

Eventually, two agents showed up at my door who wanted to discuss this with me. We sat in my living room while they tried to get me to pay the $12.72 now due. I explained that I saw a direct connection between my paying .... and napalm burning the bodies of innocents. My dollars were buying the napalm which was frying the bodies of little children and I couldn't go along with that. I did not want their blood on my hands.

We were all very polite. They said they understood, but that they wanted me to understand that they would take the measure of garnishing my University stipend check. We all agreed that we would "do what we had to do".

When they stood up to leave, I asked what it was costing to collect each dollar . He said that it was about $100 cost per $1 collected, but that THE PRESIDENT (Nixon) was insisting that every dollar be collected, regardless of cost.

My next check listed a $13.66 deduction.

I went to the payroll office the following day and inquired as to who the actual person was who entered the data to deduct the napalm money from my check. I asked if I could speak to that person and they led me to a back desk where an innocuous middle-aged lady asked if she could help me.

I sat down in the chair next to her desk and explained that her last keystroke in the sequence that sent my money to Washington was linked directly to the actual release of the napalm on the children, and she would have to think about that every time she pressed that key ... that the blood would be on her hands. Keystroke = blood on hands.

She freaked and said she would do no such thing and that I should leave. I said I was going to sit there until she agreed to stop napalming the children.

"We'll see about that", as she called security.

Two security guards came and escorted me out of the building.

Each month thereafter (and the tax continues today) 86 cents of my money went to burn little children.

If you have the ability to comprehend, I would strongly recommend that you click on
this (flash movie) link to see what your money is buying in this current war. This is strong medicine and, incidentally, the best and most powerful flash movie I have ever seen.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Bad Science and the FCC

I like to try to keep up with the frontiers of "the next big thing". You know the myth that the people own the airwaves and the FCC just regulates it for us, by fining certain broadcasters for violating indecency rules, so "the children" won't see body parts and hear bad language? David Reed explains why all that is unnecessary, and it appears that we don't need an FCC afterall.

Internet architect David Reed explains how bad science created the broadcast industry.

By David Weinberger
March 12, 2003

There's a reason our television sets so outgun us, spraying us with trillions of bits while we respond only with the laughable trickles from our remotes. To enable signals to get through intact, the government has to divide the spectrum of frequencies into bands, which it then licenses to particular broadcasters. NBC has a license and you don't.

Thus, NBC gets to bathe you in "Friends," followed by a very special "Scrubs," and you get to sit passively on your couch. It's an asymmetric bargain that dominates our cultural, economic and political lives -- only the rich and famous can deliver their messages -- and it's all based on the fact that radio waves in their untamed habitat interfere with one another.

Except they don't.

"Interference is a metaphor that paints an old limitation of technology as a fact of nature." So says David P. Reed, electrical engineer, computer scientist, and one of the architects of the Internet. If he's right, then spectrum isn't a resource to be divvied up like gold or parceled out like land. It's not even a set of pipes with their capacity limited by how wide they are or an aerial highway with white lines to maintain order... read more.

In Depth Interview with Bob Chapman, International Forecaster

Apparently only about 1% of Americans have started to take heed of the impending financial upheaval towards which we are headed. This is a good thing. It means that if you haven't taken heed, there is still plenty of time for you to "get in on the ground floor." Don't make the mistake of not investing now because you didn't invest earlier.

I'm starting to use my computer as mp3 player. If frees you from the desk and you can be doing something productive while you listen. Like old-time radio.

Give this guy a listen. I think he knows what he's talking about.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Their Words Say It All - The Dixie Chicks

Click on title to hear the latest song "Not Ready to Make Nice".

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Oil Geopolitics, Iraq, Eurasia and the Debt-Bloated US Economy

Your cash ain't nothin' but trash. (Editor's comment)

Thanks to reader Byrne for the following link and comments. If you want to know the history of the current situation re: US and Iran, I join in his recommendation that you listen to the audio (mp3) file.

Byrne adds, "I have listened to it and he mentions the Iranian Oil Bourse within his discussion and the associated US military response. Strange though, that Engdahl does NOT mention what happened to the general trend of the Euro vs US Dollar graph after October 2000. The value of 1 Euro then was 85 US cents. The Euro then continued to strengthen (even past March/April 2003 when the US reverted Iraq's oil sales back to the US Dollar), up to a high in March 04 when 1 euro was worth 124 US cents. Part of the reason for the rise was the sluggish US economy and the use (from Jan 2002) of the Euro in circulation.

I found it interesting that he made no reference to this. Engdahl is correct inasmuch as it is the US military might that supports the dollar, as much as it hegemonic power (the two are obviously related). But the buck must stop somewhere.

Watch for China/Russia to stroll in when the US/Dollar is further weakened after the altercation with Iran. We will not get a chance to see if the Iran Bourse would affect the dollar, because the US/ISRAEL WILL make a military strike, I believe. "

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

And if You Still Need Convincing ...

From Yahoo!: Finance

Investing: Go for Gold and Silver, Not Green
by Robert Kiyosaki

March 21, 2006

Impending Financial Disaster

My concern is that very soon, citizens of the world will tire of America's gross fiscal mismanagement and hesitate to take U.S. dollars. In order to keep the world interested in the greenback, interest rates must rise. When that happens, U.S. assets, especially paper assets such as U.S. stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and savings will drop in value. Some real estate prices will increase because replacement costs are high, but overvalued real estate will drop.

At the risk of sounding like a politician who flip-flops, there will still be paper assets and real estate that will rise in value. The secret to surviving in paper assets and real estate is to be very careful and very selective. People who diversify will lose. People who focus will win.

Americans Are Still Asleep

The secret to surviving the next few years is keeping your wealth in real money, not in the U.S. dollar. Buy things that hold their value and are exchangeable all over the world. Commodities such as gold and silver have a world market that transcends national borders, politics, religions, and race. A person may not like someone else's religion, but he'll accept his gold.

One of the reasons why I'm bullish on gold and silver is because the American public is still sound asleep to this asset class. Most Americans have no idea how or where to buy physical gold and silver. The outlets that sell gold and silver I have visited are already low on inventory.

If and when the American public wakes up to the reality that their dollars are not money, but a currency, the panic and stampede will begin. Should that happen, today's prices for gold and silver will look like bargains.

Read the entire article...

This just in ...

Another step forward for silver ETF
SEC approves rule change
Silver rallies on speculation

By John Spence
Tuesday, March 21, 2006

BOSTON -- A controversial exchange-traded fund tied to silver prices moved a step closer to reality Tuesday. The Securities and Exchange Commission has approved a rule change for a silver ETF in registration from Barclays Global Investors that would allow the product to list on the American Stock Exchange, although the fund has not yet been cleared to launch by regulators.

Click title for more...

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Slippin' and a Slidin' ...

Cano's Castle - Antonito, Colorado

Oh me oh my ... could this be the beginning of the long slow slide?

... this past week saw the greenback's biggest weekly loss in six weeks.

"This is the most serious assault on the dollar since January," said Steven Englander, chief currency strategist for the Americas at Barclays Capital in New York. "This feels different."

Why the decline? First, there was a dramatic downshift in the market expectations of how high interest rates will go. Most in the interest rate futures market believed that the Fed would raise rates to 4.75 percent by the end of the month, with a chance that they would raise to 5.25 percent by the middle of the year.

"Now, however, markets have taken all bets of a hike beyond five percent off the table, and are pricing in only three in four chance the Fed will even reach five percent," reports Reuters.

"This helped compress the spread between two-year U.S. and euro zone government debt to its narrowest level in favor of the dollar in 10 months."

Another factor conspiring against the dollar is the U.S. trade deficit. A U.S. Treasury Department reports shows that foreign purchases of U.S. securities were less than the amount needed to finance the trade deficit for the second month in a row."

Have you bought your gold/silver yet?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Coming Soon to a Reality Near You ...

1. Another “terrorist” attack, brought to you by the same forces of evil that demolished the three buildings of the WTC on 9/11. But don’t look for planes crashing into buildings, and don’t look on the East coast.

2. Another “War on Terror” campaign brought to you by the current administration. Another surge of patriotism by the sheeple: red and orange lights flashing - more warrantless spying, more torture, more rendition.

3. Another pre-emptive attack on a country that had nothing to do with #1. This time around, it’s Iran.

4. Another day, another quagmire

5. Bankrupt America.

How long ….. can this keep goin’ on.

P.S. I thought this might be a little extreme until I read this (from Cannonfire) ...

"Let's face it -- a new terror attack is the only thing that can salvage the neocon experiment.

Such an attack is therefore inevitable. We already know who the perps will be (the neocons) and who the fall guys will be (the Iranians). Afterward will come the great round-up of the "America-haters" -- defined as you and me and anyone else who considers Big Brother doubleplusungood.

There will also be war with Iran. Nuclear war. The signs are unmistakable. Come and see:

1. The far-right continually assails anyone who criticizes Bush as working with the terrorists. This accusation seems inane now, but it will take on quite an ominous tone after Big Wedding II.

2. Official propagandist Jerome Corsi, who is surely on the inside, has warned of an Iranian nuclear terror strike within the United States -- even though (as a moment's thought will tell you) Iran has nothing to gain and everything to lose from such an event.

3. No one doubts that the adminstration is gearing up for war with Iran, even though no political will exists in this country to prosecute such a conflict. Obviously, Cheney and co. know full well that an event will soon take place which will create sufficient backing.

4. Bush himself has repeated the false claim that Iran is arming the insurgency in Iraq. (Why would Shi'ite Iran want to undermine the most Shi'ite-friendly neighboring government they've ever known?)

People get ready, there's a train acomin'...

Friday, March 10, 2006

Do Yourself a Favor

Do you still believe that JFK was killed by a lone gunman? If so, you'll probably never understand that the collapse of the three WTC buildings was a controlled demolition. The scientists are proving it now, and you owe it to yourself to

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Week of March 20 Said to be Arriving Soon

I guess we'll just have to wait and see...

Why Iran's oil bourse can't break the buck

By F William Engdahl

A number of writings have recently appeared with the thesis that the announced plans of the Iranian government to institute a Tehran oil bourse, perhaps as early as this month, is the real hidden reason behind the evident march to war on Iran by the Anglo-American powers.

The thesis is simply wrong for many reasons, not least that war on Iran has been in planning since the 1990s as an integral part of the United States' Greater Middle East strategy.

More significant, the oil-bourse argument is a red herring that diverts attention from the real geopolitical grounds behind the....continue reading.

Civil War Test Kit

Let's see, On the question of Civil War in Iraq, we have the following descriptions:

Teetering on the Brink
Poised On The Precipice
Rumsfeld Sees Potential
Iraq Civil War Likely
Civil War In Iraq?
Civil War Looms
Iraq Edges Toward Civil War
Possibility Of Iraq Civil War Looms Large
Iraq Civil War Brews
Virtually On The Brink Of Civil War In Northern Iraq
General Raises Spectre Of Iraq Civil War ...
Fall Into A Full-Blown "Civil War"
What Civil War Could Look Like
Looking For Signs Of Civil War In Iraq

and then we have George Will: “This Is A Civil War”

Okay, I think we can now conclude that we have a freaking Civil War in Iraq.

And why?

However, from the outset of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the U.S. objective was conspicuous; to destroy Iraq, install a puppet government and pillage the nation's resources.

Class dismissed.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Stentman - The Truly Evil

Vice-President Dick Cheney has so many stents in him, he can hardly sit down. Stentman. He has an ambulance that follows him everywhere, complete with an array of new stents. What do you think that does to his head?

As this Administration has trashed this country over the past 5 years, I began to wonder if mere incompetence could account for the complete fuck-up of everything (FUE) which has been going on unabated since the theft of the first election. This couldn't be by accident, could it? They couldn't be doing the wrong thing 90% of the time without trying really hard, could they?

Once I learned that 9/11 had been a building demolition exercise (if you haven't seen the new evidence, go here), I knew that naked evil was running wild through the halls of power. Knowing that Cheney runs the neo-con cabal inside the government, he seemed the most likely candidate

And then I learned this:

Of greatest concern, the condition of the Vice President's cerebral vasculature is unknown. Small-vessel cerebral atherosclerosis could produce insidious, difficult-to-recognize degradation of mental faculties.

And the truth struck me: this country is being destroyed by a madman....STENTMAN.

Monday, March 06, 2006

This is a Dip

People ask me when to buy, and I always pass on the conventional wisdom "buy on the dips." This is a dip - perhaps not the last dip or the lowest dip, but it is a dip.

From Time to Time ...

you must step out of yourself and take a look. Thanks to Cenk Uygur by way of The Huffington Post for the help.

We are infinitesimally small.

We are miniscule animals on a tiny planet circling a small star in a giant galaxy. There are at least 200 billion stars just like ours in our galaxy alone. And there are anywhere between 10 to 100 billion other galaxies.

When you zoom out from a single person to the Earth to our sun to the 200 billion other stars in our galaxy and to the billions of other galaxies, you realize we are entirely irrelevant.

The Universe is approximately 12 to 15 billion years old. The Earth is about 4.5 billion years old. Homo sapiens have been around for roughly 100,000 years. Earliest recorded history of humans dates back to at most 30,000 years ago (counting cave art here).

100,000 years among 15 billion years is a cosmic joke. It doesn't even qualify as a hiccup in time. The average life expectancy for humans is under 80 years. The insignificance of that period time within 15 billion years cannot be overstated. Our lives go by quicker than a cosmic second.

We are so small as to be nearly nonexistent. Yet we are led to believe that we are the center of the damn universe. Everything we do is so important. We lead these careful, guilt-ridden, cautious lives only to die abruptly and disappear into cosmic insignificance.

I don't know where it came from. I don't know what it is or what it means. But we have this incredible gift of life for a very short period of time - and we spend it arguing and worrying and fighting and waiting.

What are we waiting for? What - heaven? Hell? You have got to be kidding me. Please don't tell me that you are wasting the one precious life you have waiting around for the fairytales of our ancestors. Our ancestors thought the stars were holes in the sky. They thought the Earth was flat, that the Sun revolved around us and that there is a man with a gray beard up in the sky.
My guess is that if you brought back anyone who wrote our ancient religions, they would be amazed at what we have found out since the time they lived. But they would be even more amazed that people still believed what they had written in their utter ignorance.

I can see them shaking their heads now, "But why would you believe things we wrote thousands of years ago when you have already proven they are not true? Are you nuts?"

"We wrote that woman came from the rib of man because we had no fucking idea where women came from. You've traced back the origin of life and you're still wondering if we knew something you don't know? We were practically cavemen. We knew less science than your average third grader now. We thought natural disasters happened because God was angry at us. You think we would have written such nonsense if we knew about tectonic plate movements? Please don't tell me you still believe what we wrote when we simply didn't know better."

You are going to die one day and on your deathbed you are going to think, "What have I done with my life?" What will you answer? Have you lived enough? Have you truly tasted life? Will you be able to tell yourself that you gave life your best run?

Look, I'm not telling you to quit your accounting job and run off into fields of flowers. Life might be a flash in the pan in cosmic time, but it lasts quite awhile from our perspective. You have to have balance. Enjoy the short term while planning for the long term. Enjoy yourself without infringing on others. Hedonism is not the answer. But a stodgy, unadventurous life isn't either.

There is something liberating about meaninglessness. We are cosmically insignificant, so who cares what we do? If you conquer the world and a comet runs into our planet three and half million years from now and wipes us out of history, your conquest will mean nothing. If you were a pauper who did nothing particularly grand with your life, history will not record that either. If you are gay or straight, an artist or a banker, a doctor or a patient, a cheater or a victim, a king or a peasant, history will not care. The steamroller of time and space will roll over your existence. No one is keeping a ledger. So, for the love of God, just please live the life you want to live, not the one you think you should live.

There is no cosmic judge of your life. You will not be given extra credit at the end. You will only have what you have lived.

Life is not a pop quiz. You will not graduate on to another life based on your score in this one.
I am reminded of the story of the drowning priest: A priest is on a boat that starts to sink. Everyone gets on a lifeboat and they invite the priest on the boat. He declines, "God will save me, I don't need a lifeboat." As the ship sinks further, another shipping vessel comes by and offers to rescue the priest. The priest again turns down the offer, "God will save me, I don't need your ship." Finally, as the situation becomes precarious, a helicopter is sent in to take the priest to safety. But again he refuses saying, "God will save me ..."

As the water is about to overtake him, the priest shouts out to God in anger, "My God, why have you forsaken me?" God replies, "I sent you a boat, a ship and a helicopter. What else did you want me to do?"

If you believe in God, it is an insult to Him to not cherish the life He has already given you. He has sent you a boat, a ship and a helicopter and you're still wondering when salvation is going to come around. You have been given life so that you may live it.

Our very insignificance is our salvation. If there is no meaning to life, there is also no pressure. Meaninglessness is liberating. The universe is indifferent to your tiny existence, so you might as well live it up. There will be no cosmic retribution or redemption. So, you are free to live as you choose.