Sunday, July 31, 2011

Can't make it through an Obama speech? Try playing Barack's Bullshit Bingo!

The game that is sweeping the nation: Barack's Bullshit Bingo

On the heals of the debt ceiling crisis and moving into the 2012 presidential election season, odds are we will be seeing much more of President Obama.

Whether it is during "substantive" speeches or perhaps during campaign speeches masquerading as substance, we will be seeing and hearing much more from the President.

It is time to dust off your game card of Barack's Bullshit Bingo!

How to get through an Obama speech without changing the channel or turning off the sound!

There is typically no way to stop the involuntary and reflexive move to do one of the above when Obama begins speaking.

Perhaps, just perhaps, with the game Barack's Bullshit Bingo it will now be possible to get through one of these waterboarding equivalent torture sessions known as an Obama speech!

Rules for Bullshit Bingo:

1. Before Barrack Obama's next televised speech, print your "Bullshit Bingo"

2. Check off the appropriate block when you hear one of those words/phrases

3. When you get five blocks horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, stand up and shout "BULLSHIT!"

Enjoy for as long as the game lasts, which, using history as a guide will not be for very long!

H/T Iowntheworld

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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Empathy in Washington is a four letter word!

, for want of a better word, does not exist either in Congress or in the White House!

An interesting word empathy. For those unfamiliar empathy is the identification with and understanding of another's situation.

Empathy is a word not always associated with politics, but it should be. This debate in Washington over the debt ceiling is a classic example of a group that has none!

When we send our representatives to Washington it is to serve our needs as our proxies whether they are in the House, the Senate or in the White House.

As this disgusting example of political gamesmanship shows the only people that our servants in office truly serve and care about are themselves and their own political future.

Let's face it. Many are financially independent and additionally enjoy the largess provided by government service.

The outcome of this standoff will not affect them in the least.

In fact many in Congress have done quite well over the course of a financial crisis that has devastated many others of us.

For these members of Congress it is purely an ego-trip and a power-trip with ordinary people being held hostage by the process.

How will this debt limit game play out at the end of the day?

For you and I probably not so well even if some compromise is reached. This because any compromise will likely address none of the real systemic problems facing the United States now and in the future.

For our servants in Washington it will work out fine. Just more political fuel and ammunition for the fire as they head into the 2012 election season.

Sounds like a lose-lose proposition if you are not one of them!

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Regardless, the USA AAA is going away!

Regardless of the outcome of the political debt limit dance taking place in Washington, the USA AAA bond rating is going to be going away!

While the Washington version of Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus drones on, it is most likely a foregone conclusion that the USA AAA will be fading away into the sunset.

Why then you may ask, if partisan politics are overcome, the debt ceiling is raised and there is no U.S. default, would the USA AAA be lost?

It comes down to two words repeated three times: Government spending, government spending, government spending!

In the book, "This time is different" the authors looked at the past 200 years of global economic history and found that when a country's outstanding sovereign debt is above 90% of that country's GDP, nothing good happens to that country's economy.

Some members of the over 90% debt to GDP club

Japan: 230% AA-
Greece: 125% Ca
Italy: 120% A+

USA: 97% AAA?

USA ratings bottom-line?

Coming to some consensus on what will be an inadequate compromise bill that allows the debt ceiling to be raised while making no real attempts to cut spending or federal deficits in any real way will NOT preserve anything, other than potentially saving the jobs of some members of Congress.

The economic lives and the quality of life for Americans now and into the future hangs in the balance while one of the most disgusting displays of partisan politics that I can remember is being played out in Washington.

Watch, take names and remember in November of 2012!

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

You ever hear of the risk-free rate?

The risk-free rate is also known as the 3-month U.S. treasury bill!

What happens if and when there is no risk-free rate?

Will that happen when the United States is downgraded from AAA?

What will happen to the CAPM?

When I was in business school one of the major concepts included an esoteric formula known as CAPM, or the capital asset pricing model.

Long story short the CAPM was a risk/reward tool through which an investor could determine whether the expected return from an investment was worth the risk of that investment.

CAPM calculated a risk premium over the risk-free rate that an investor should demand from an investment in order to invest.

This risk premium would be the investors compensation for getting involved in a risky investment rather than simply investing their money risk-free.

Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM)

Required or expected return = Risk-free rate + (market return - risk-free rate) * beta

Consider the EU PIGS bonds and the massive risk premium that is currently being demanded by investors in order to entice them to buy.

Long story short, what happens if and when there is no risk-free rate?

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How many U.S.households are just like yours (interactive chart)

A married couple with 3 kids? Only .26% of all U.S. households!

This interactive page lets you look at the way in which your household fits into the demographic breakdown of all U.S. households.(H/T The Daily Capitalist)

It also lets you manipulate various permutations and combinations of household compositions in order to try and determine if there are any constant or developing trends.

Below the results are breakdowns comparing a family demographic type today to that same family type from the past, income statistics and ethnicity statistics.

Some examples of U.S. household demographics

Married couple, 3 kids one under 18 and 2 over 18: 298,000 households or .26%
Single female, 2 kids both under 18: 729,000 households or .65%
Single male, 2 kids both under 18: 293,000 households or .26%
The U.S. standard of a married couple with two kids: 8,200,000 households or 7.25%

The interactive page is at the New York Times here.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Zadroga Act makes 9/11 victims the victims once more!

Ground Zero first responders are paying with their lives but the federal government makes a financial decision for them and for their families!

Ground Zero, 2001

Christine Todd Whitman, EPA head September 18, 2001: "We are very encouraged that the results from our monitoring of air-quality and drinking-water conditions in both New York and near the Pentagon show that the public in these areas is not being exposed to excessive levels of asbestos or other harmful substances" and that "Given the scope of the tragedy from last week, I am glad to reassure the people of New York … that their air is safe to breathe and the water is safe to drink."

Ground Zero over time

Carcinogens found in and around Ground Zero
  • Chrysotile asbestos
  • Lead, aluminum, antimony, mercury, etc
  • Polychlorinated polycyclic compounds or dioxins

  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons

  • Volatile organic compounds

  • Crystalline silica

  • Fibrous glass

  • Particulate matter

  • Tritiated water

Zadroga Act denial of coverage for cancer victims

The federal government (NIOSH) has determined that there is not enough evidence to prove that working in and around Ground Zero after the attack on 9/11 in any way contributed to the illnesses of those suffering from cancer or of those who have died from cancer.

As a result these victims and their families are not entitled to any coverage under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.

There is hope that the feds will find the link in a report to be released in 2012.


In my mind the federal government is playing a money game with the lives of the heroes and the families of the heroes who went into harms way while everyone else was running in the opposite direction.

While the amount of money being provided by the Zadroga Act was grossly deficient in the first place, playing a medical shell game with the first responders suffering from cancer is unconscionable.

To quote John Feal of the FealGood Foundation, "I've been to 53 funerals and 51 were for people who died from cancer. If you took every toxin that was in the air that day and on the following days, each one would have a skull and crossbones on it."

Do the right thing for the people who did the right thing!

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The U.S. will NOT default on its debt!

One sentence explanation on a U.S. sovereign debt default

Maybe two.

If there is n0 increase in the debt ceiling, the United States will not default on its debt, period!

Despite the fear mongering and misinformation emanating from the White House and Democrats, the debt service on US treasury debt would be paid and non-essential programs and departments would be the places where funding would have to be cut.

Do not listen to that man behind the curtain as he is using this debt ceiling debate purely for political gain. No more no less.

Note: The networks should be charging him for these prime time talks as these are political announcements covering absolutely no new ground.

Maybe five or six.

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Average Joe tells Washington where to go (Video)

Just a regular guy telling Obama and the Congress that he is mad as hell, and he isn't going to take it anymore!

A great rant from one of those average residents of the "Main Street" that the President and members of Congress just love to invoke when telling us how hard they are working to help us.

This Average Joe tells Obama and the congressional leaders how he, and other frustrated and disgusted Americans, feel about the elementary school style games that Washington is playing with other peoples lives.

All for the purpose of political expediency.

Average Joe says that he and others like him are mad as hell and aren't going to take it anymore and that these elected officials will pay with the jobs that they are trying so desperately to keep if they don't actually put the American people first for once!

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Iran: I hope that President Obama can juggle more than one ball at a time, but...

I think that he has proven he cannot! Or doesn't want to!

Who can forget the tunnel vision of the President when Obamacare was wending its way through the process.

A process which ultimately led to that program being shoved down the throats of Americans who neither liked or wanted a program of government-run healthcare.

Now we have the debt ceiling "crisis" that is occupying all of the time and energy of Mr. Obama (it kept him off the golf course didn't it) and the Congress.

This while other issues of pressing importance continue to take a back seat because they have not become the critical crisis du jour with re-election implications.

The problem with government and politics, as we know, is that crises are only dealt with when the danger from continued neglect becomes imminent. In some cases by then it could potentially be too late!

The perfect example is that old standby Iran and it nuclear weapons program.

Iran and its drive towards nuclear weapons!

Currently the only groups that seem to be "willing" to be fooled into believing that Iran can be dealt with using diplomacy and ineffective slaps on the wrist such as economic sanctions are major government leaders (ours included) and the U.N. nuclear watchdog group the IAEA.

As discussed here ad infinitum (only because it is such a clear and present danger to the security of the globe), Iran continues its march towards nuclear weapons at an increasingly brisk pace while the world watches either in denial or preoccupied by pressing monetary issues.

Unfortunately, while these other issues are being worked through Iran is not sitting idly by, waiting to resume when the world can once again pay attention.

No, Iran, as we well know, is moving full steam ahead towards developing or obtaining nuclear weapons!

Evidence on Iran's nuclear progress and a world with its head up its collective a**!

This from the Associated Press:

Iran's president wants to shed the nation's secrecy and forge ahead openly with developing nuclear weapons but is opposed by the clerical leadership, which is worried about international reaction to such a move, says an intelligence assessment shared with The Associated Press.

That view, from a nation with traditionally reliable intelligence from the region, cannot be confirmed and contrasts with assessments by other countries that view Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as relatively moderate on the nuclear issue compared to the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Attempts to interpret Iran's goals are important because as it expands uranium enrichment, it is moving closer to being able to make a nuclear weapon by the day, even as it asserts that it is not interested in such arms and its programs are geared only to making reactor fuel.

A U.S. official cited one assessment he has seen suggesting Ahmadinejad may be more "moderate" — more open to talks with the international community on resolving nuclear concerns than Khamenei. He asked for anonymity because his information was privileged.

But a blunt comment by Ahmadinejad last month raises questions. While repeating that Iran does not want nuclear arms, he openly reinforced its ability to make them, telling Iranian state TV that "if we want to make a bomb, we are not afraid of anybody..."

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

If a picture paints a thousand words, here are fifteen thousand about President Obama! (political humor)

As the debt ceiling debate grinds on in Washington, this critical fiscal crisis is not the first time the President has placed American's backs against the wall!

These 15 pictures tell some of the story of a President who was not ready for prime time when he took office, and who is still not ready over two years into what will hopefully be his first and only term!


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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Obama sucks! The Obama legacy put to music: (Must see music video)

The debt ceiling debate is on the forefront of the minds of Americans.

That said, and with President Obama seemingly using the national crisis surrounding the debt ceiling solely for political maneuvering ahead of the 2012 presidential election, let this video serve as reminder of just what a disaster that this President as been!

For those of you who voted for Obama the first time around and for those of you who still believe that they will vote for him in the 2012 presidential election, use this video as a primer for understanding that the United States most likely cannot survive an additional four years with this man at the helm.

Please remember that Obama is self-serving, disingenuous and that quite frankly serious questions exist over whether he has the best interests of the future of our nation as one of his goals!

In reality, if you were pressed to articulate just what his goals and vision for the nation are, could you? I know that I can't!

Enjoy the video but also understand the gravity of its message!

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Friday, July 22, 2011

North Korea nukes all of Asia! (Video)

Satirical video from The Onion that points out the ridiculous and dangerous ways in which U.S. foreign policy and U.S national security operates at the highest levels!

Given the current real and present danger posed to the Middle East and the rest of the world from the impending nuclear capability in Iran (and North Korea which already has the capability), the satire presented in this video from The Onion has more than just a modicum of truth attached to it.

The tools being used in the real-life Iranian nuclear crisis including sanctions, empty rhetoric, malignant neglect, ceding control to the U.N. and attempts to engage the terrorist nation in diplomacy seem very similar to those being discussed in this satirical video.

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Guest Post: Peter Konetchy, Michigan Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate speaks to the debt ceiling debate

Peter Konetchy for US Senate Press Release June 14, 2011


Michigan US Senate Candidate Peter Konetchy (R-Roscommon) is calling on Congress to rein in unsustainable spending by not raising the debt limit.

America’s national debt increased from $8.7 trillion in 2007 to $14.3 trillion today. That’s a 64% increase in our national debt in just five short years. Our own Department of the Treasury continues to project trillion dollar deficits and classifies this spending trend as “not sustainable”.

Our nation is in deep financial trouble. Standard & Poor's lowered its outlook for the nation's long-term debt, there’s serious speculation that the dollar will no longer be the world’s global reserve currency, and the IMF predicts China to replace the United States as the dominate world economy in five years.

Reaching the debt ceiling should be a wake-up call for the government to get its financial house in order. The debt ceiling was raised in 2009 by $1.5 trillion to cover deficit spending and then raised another $2 trillion in 2010 while Congress made no attempt to curb its spending. Instead, Congress arrogantly assumes the debt ceiling will be continually increased to allow more deficit spending on any program it desires.


We cannot continue on this financial course. Congress has known since the start of its term that we were fast approaching this limit, yet no significant cuts were ever proposed. Why are we to believe that Congress will seriously address cutting spending after the ceiling is raised, when they shunned the process before? I say “Do not raise the debt ceiling and do not engage in deficit spending”. Implement significant spending cuts now, whatever it takes, not only to alleviate the need to raise our debt ceiling but to also start paying off our debt.

Government receives about $200 billion dollars per month in tax revenue which can be used to pay our loan obligations forestalling default. We are not in danger of defaulting on our debt. The government can prioritize its obligations and use these receipts to pay for its constitutionally mandated programs and its Social Security/Medicare commitments.

Reaching the debt ceiling provides Congress with the opportunity to examine all other programs and cut waste, fraud, duplication, and what isn’t allowed by the Constitution. I think it’s morally wrong to shift the burden of payment for our “non-sustainable” deficit spending to our children and grandchildren.

What’s my solution? Congress should encourage private sector economic growth by lowering taxes and removing burdensome regulation. Cutting repressive taxes always results in the dual benefit of increasing gross revenue to the government and decreasing the need for government support. It’s been proved effective when used by Kennedy, Reagan, and Bush. Why ignore it now?


I also think that we should encourage procedures allowing the United States to become energy independent by immediately opening up federal lands to private sector energy development. The United States has more domestic oil then all the OPEC nations combined, but government prohibits its development. Congress would rather have us spend $30 billion per month importing oil from abroad rather than allowing the private sector to invest that money into our own economy creating jobs and generating federal revenue.

Congress’ record of seriously cutting spending is dismal. We cannot allow them to pass more crushing debt to future generations by again raising the debt ceiling. Congress must stop irresponsible spending and balance the budget now.

Peter Konetchy is a businessman from Roscommon who believes that the authority of the federal government should be limited to its constitutional duties. For more information on Peter, visit his website or join him on Facebook.

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How ripe is Obama for the picking? He is in a dead-heat with Mitt Romney!

Obama ripe for the picking? You know vulnerable, exposed, ready to be overtaken!

Mitt Romney, most likely an unelectable Republican presidential candidate for a variety of reasons, is currently the Republican frontrunner in the polls to win the nomination to run against Obama in the 2012 presidential election.

That status is likely to change moving forward as others enter the race, but for now that is where we stand.

Obama versus Romney head to head

In a political poll conducted by Public Policy Polling pitting Obama against Romney in a head-to-head mock election, they ended up in a tie at 45% each.

When a weak Republican candidate running against an incumbent president end in a dead heat, that bodes very well for Republican chances in 2012.

With the cards for the 2012 presidential election being dealt, if the Republicans play the hand with any level of intelligence the fight to unseat Obama is ours to win!

Some encouraging Obama stats

"Here's an important note on all of this early 2012 polling: Obama's numbers are worse than they appear to be on the surface. The vast majority of the undecideds in all of these match ups disapprove of the job Obama's doing but aren't committing to a candidate yet while they wait to see how the Republican field shakes out. For instance if you allocate the undecides based on their approval/disapprove of Obama, Romney would lead 52-48.

“There’s a very good chance Barack Obama would lose if he had to stand for reelection today,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “This is his worst poll standing in a long time and he really needs the economy to start turning around.” (PPP)

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Obama concedes that he will lose the 2012 presidential election! (Video)

Obama will be a loser in the 2012 presidential election if his own words translate into voter action!

While the conceit, pomposity and delusion of this President never ceases to amaze, for once Obama has accurately described his chances for winning a second term in office come the 2012 presidential election.

During an interview on a Kansas City television station President Obama conceded that the 2012 presidential election would be a referendum on his stewardship and performance in office.

To quote the President, "And if next November they feel like I’ve been on their side, and I’ve been working as hard as I can, and I’ve been getting some things done to move us in the right direction, I’ll win. If they don’t, then I’ll lose."

So if the 2012 presidential election will be a referendum based on whether the American public feels Obama has put the United States on the right track for moving successfully forward, consider the following short list.
  • If the American public feels that putting the U.S. AAA credit rating in imminent danger of being downgraded is a good thing,
  • That expanding deficits and debt to unimaginable levels is a formula for economic success,
  • That being responsible for a 9.2% unemployment rate with a 20% real unemployment rate is a positive measure of presidential performance,
  • If captaining the ship that is guiding the U.S. economy into the danger-zone of double-dipping back into the abyss of recession (if you believe it had ever bounced up in the first place) will be considered successful leadership, and
  • If leading the country into what could be considered a diminished standing globally, as Obama continues to act as the official apologist for current and past United States policies and actions, is considered to be good and effective foreign policy, then
Obama will win back the White House!

But as I said, the President in his own words has conceded the 2012 presidential election if it is truly to be a referendum on his stewardship!

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thursday rant: If companies continue to blow past earnings estimates then...

Maybe the analysts that provide investors with those earnings estimates are not very good at doing their jobs!

It's that time again when publicly traded companies present their work and the markets grade them by sending their stock prices either higher or lower.

It seems to me however that very often, and particularly on big name companies, analysts don't get that close.

Third behind weathermen and economists, Wall Street analysts just can't seem to get it right. Again, at least not very often.

Watching the cavalcade of earnings that are being released and the number of "earnings surprises," maybe these guys rely on guidance from the company's a little to much instead of doing it the way it was done in the good old days.

That's when analysts were analysts and actually did the legwork to come up with an earnings estimate.

If you rely on a company to "guide" you to an estimate, that is not really analysis. It is more like being a shill for the firm.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Imminent war with a nuclear Iran, Phase 2!

The noise out of a nuclear Iran grows stronger along with the toothless rhetoric from the west!

Did I say a nuclear Iran or very soon to be nuclear Iran?

Take your pick as that terrorist nation steadily marches forward under the watchful eye of the west and the IAEA.

All the while remember that Israel sits ready to take this global matter into its own hands as the prospect of a nuclear Iran is a non-starter for a nation that would likely be target number one!

A soon to be nuclear Iran marches on!

So how can I be so sure that Iran is moving forward towards a nuclear weapons capability?

In the first place, aren't global nuclear watchdog groups such as the aforementioned IAEA on top of things in Iran making sure that there is no progress?

Aren't there U.N. sanctions in place that are crippling Iran and forcing them to comply with demands to cease and desist?

Hasn't President Obama made it crystal clear to Iran that they had better stop, or else?

Haven't other global leaders done the same, telling Iran that its actions are provocative and unacceptable?

Yes, yes, yes and yes!

So, at the end of the day, Iran is installing new and improved centrifuges!

Iran said Tuesday it has begun installing new centrifuges with "better quality and speed" to enrich uranium in its nuclear facilities, defying international demands it halt its atomic activities.

"The installation of new centrifuges with better quality and speed is ongoing. We have announced it and the agency (UN atomic watchdog) has full supervision of them," Iranian foreign minister spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters at his weekly press briefing…

… The UN Security Council in New York has repeatedly ordered Tehran to halt all uranium enrichment until the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has verified the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear activities.

Uranium enrichment is the most sensitive part of the programme because it can be used to produce both the fuel for a nuclear reactor and the fissile material for an atomic warhead...” (AFP)

The global reaction to the Iranian centrifuge announcement

The rhetoric from Britain and France clearly provides the answer to the question of why Israel will most likely be forced to take matters into its own hands in Iran.

MIA Note: President Obama, busily campaigning for the 2012 election, has not yet been heard from on the Iranian issue. Please refer to previous statements or simply fill-in blah, blah, blah for a good idea of what it is that he might say.

From the Guardian:

“…However, France said Iran's move – which Tehran claims could triple the rate at which it enriches uranium – confirmed suspicions that the Iranian nuclear programme had "no credible civilian application". The French foreign ministry said: "Iran has just given in to another provocation by announcing the imminent installation of next generation centrifuges.

"This is a new violation of six security council resolutions and 10 resolutions by the council of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA]."

The British Foreign Office said the announcement "further undermines Iran's claim that its nuclear programme is designed for purely peaceful purposes, and demonstrates the urgency of increasing pressure on Iran ... Iran must understand that we will not be distracted by events in the region and it should not doubt our resolve".

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