Monday, September 14, 2015

Obama Land

Let’s see, half of the US is for Obamacare and half is against it. Then there is half against the Iranian deal and half for it. Immigration is another 50/50 split. There is one assumption being glossed over, that it is the same 50 percent in disagreement in all three cases. Obama has stepped on enough toes to have worn out his welcome. The thing that bothers me is that he has done it with an “Air” of authority. It reminds me of a person I worked in the past that smoked cigarettes. Most people that smoke are careful to tap their ashes into some sort of ash tray. This person would have a long ash on his cigarette, give you eye contact and then with you watching, tap the ashes onto the floor with kind of a head nod, suggesting that he hit the spot he intended.

Obama has found a way to circumvent Democracy, the rule of many with the rule of the few. His Presidential edicts poison the art of compromise. We no longer have a country united, we have a country divided by argument. His inability to see the Arab Spring as a mess waiting to happen is probably his greatest failure. Egypt will recover, but Libya is gone. Syria could be fixed, Russia is sending in troops. Syria’s president may not be well liked, but he is not a religious fanatic and he has the infrastructure to keep the country running by killing those that want to upset the apple cart. We didn’t like Saddam Hussain, but he kept order in his country. The refugees fleeing want order and they do not want to be drafted into a war. It’s kind of like the people that fled Europe to colonize North America. They didn’t want to fight in other people’s wars.

Preserving order is the prime directive. You cannot give a country Democracy, it doesn’t work that way. Raising the minimum wage, doesn’t solve poverty, more education doesn’t produce better paying jobs for many graduates.

We are not going to give the rest of the world Democracy when people are willing to die to further a religion because of their hopeless condition in this life; the right to vote never put food on the table. Religion gives the poor a new option, a better afterlife (notice how there is no way to argue that).

Where to from here? There lies the uncertainty. But one thing is sure, just as you need ugliness in order to define beauty, you need an example of incompetence in order to measure success. Obama land is a measure of incompetence, we can use it as a guide of what not to do in the future.

In a lighter sense, this is probably the first US President to have a sticker from every country in the world on his luggage. Job well done Mr. Tourist! And done on our dime—go figure--a real goldbrick!

Sunday, September 06, 2015

If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It!

In the past, Saddam Hussain in Iraq and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, had a well-paid crew of police and informants that kept the population in order. Religion was out of the mix, if in doubt, execute. The driving force was dispersal of oil money to those who could control the population. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked. For most people the difference between democracy and a dictatorship is that in a dictatorship, you have a government to blame for your predicament, where here in the US, you have a list of reasons to choose from.

In Libya today, there is big money to be made, supplying refugees with flimsy boats for a trip to Italy, which is really a travesty. Their citizens have no means to effectively fight a bunch of gangsters with guns, so they vote with their feet. It’s a little like a movie where the bad guy wins and rides off into the sunset with your girlfriend or daughter.

If a group could be found to finance an invasion of Libya with a force of 30,000 mercenaries at 25K per mercenary, (we would be talking about 1.5 billion dollars) (750 million for wages and the rest for ammunition) the need for migration would end. Upon securing the country, the invader would have about 8 billion a year from oil sales. Kind of like what the Duke of Normandy did in 1066 to England.

The thing that really bothers me is our government’s meddling in the Middle East, and not taking any responsibility for the mess created. Millions of people trying to emigrate in life rafts to escape from a country that we have freed from dictatorship???? It doesn’t sound like we are going to get a thank you note from any of them.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The Federal Reserve An Impotent Institution

Let’s get this straight, the Federal Reserve is about to raise the Fed funds rate by ¼ of a percent. The business television hosts are discoursing ad nausea on this. If they were to raise it 3% that might do something.

One quarter of one percent is almost too small to measure. The phrase “Canary fart” comes to mind." The Federal Reserve thinks that raising the interest rate a minuscule amount is going to change the celestial motion of the heavenly bodies?

The idea that this is discussed as a plausible item on the business shows, kind of tells you that many people have lost their true perspective of the markets. An increase of ¼ point from zero is a pittance and a joke.

As long as the Federal Reserve can dictate very low interest rates, there is no reason to save. Common sense suggests that cash stashed in your mattress is better than cash stashed in the bank. Where to from here?--- Buy Gold, Silver and Platinum, the price is right!