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Everything posted by STP

  1. Why me?

  2. Federal income tax

    I'm just here to post some unrelated drivel. [img:left]http://cdn.holytaco.com/www/sites/default/files/images/obamacomic.jpg[/img]
  3. Close Gitmo?

    BTW, you do take some purdy pictures.
  4. Close Gitmo?

    What makes me laugh is this mantle of a higher moral standard that you parade. As if you’re so highly evolved that you wouldn’t fail the Milgram test if given the chance to torture a fellow American like Serenity with whom you disagree. I hear what you’re saying about American values. That’s fine. It’s just the piety with which you come across. It’s like a thumbnail image of Obamania.
  5. War on the Investor Class

    Yep. [video:youtube]reCpV1YHuYs
  6. A Tired Man

  7. this just in from my favorite columnist

    Crypto-fascism! [video:youtube]W90jR6NU9P8 For all you know, the Democratic party will disintegrate along with the Republicans within 4-12 years. Maybe what we will see is a transvaluation of political ideas, e.g., taxation is theft. Maybe folks like Leary were premature in stating "tune in, turn on, drop out." Instead of engaging, perhaps we should be disengaging... Maybe it's time for a new radicalism: The Republic of Cascadia.
  8. It's Nice To Be Able To Say Fuck!

    Fuck you quantified: Recipe for Disaster: The Formula That Killed Wall Street
  9. Drug Enforcement Reform

    Legalization is not very likely given that it would take something along the lines of a constitutional amendment to get around the powers granted to the Federal gov't as a consequence of the Commerce Clause. See Gonzales v. Raich. Regulation and taxation have been used as an argument for legalization but how would that work in actuality given that pot can be grown relatively easily beyond the prying eyes of gov't?
  10. OK So His Speech Was Pretty Good!

    Sure, Obama as point man is alright. His words of confidence and resolve can talk you up, maybe rally the market despite the bad news. But it's kind of like an empty prayer. We need to hear more from non-politicians like Juan Enriquez to see the way forward. [video:google]3712289791129919795&hl [video:youtube]JNcLKbJs3xk
  11. So much for stimulus....

    More bang for the buck? The economic benefit for each gov't dollar spent: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2008/12/stimulus-suckers
  12. What's Going Down

    This stuff is way outta my depth. I usually dislike long posts but here are some thoughts...not sure if any is useful in a detailed coherent way. There's some disagreement going on with what's happening in the current situation. You could have simultaneous deflation in some asset classes and inflation in others which makes it difficult to put a simple name on it. The analogy I heard was that the Fed is figuratively trying to inflate a rapidly deflating balloon, one with a massive hole. The black hole of imminent debt collapse (deleveraging) is consuming a large measure of virtual (assumed) wealth. So at this point inflationary effects will not be noticed until the situation stabilizes before it can run the other way. Fiat money is a debt-based currency which has its basis in a fractional reserve system. Additional money is created by debt instruments based on a promise to pay. If all loans were paid off before their term, then that share of money (or purchasing power) created by the outstanding loans would cease to exist. Also, if defaults occur, this is destructive in a somewhat similar way. So essentially, it's a system based on perpetual debt. As I have heard, cash is king during deflationary periods. The problem is maintaining cash during a protracted time (how do you maintain cash flow so that your reserves are not consumed?). If you were prescient you could convert the cash into something of immediate or lasting value depending on your needs: food, tools, raw materials, etc. However, once inflation begins to set in, your ability to convert currency is devalued. My gut feeling is that in this current global situation, fiat currency is suspect. For instance, what if you invested in a foreign currency but what if there's a run on the currency? Incidently, around Sept 15 this year there was a run on the domestic money market funds. Institutions were rapidly pulling liquidity out, the effect of which was similar in style as a run on a bank. Gold on the other hand is used as a hedge against inflation of fiat currency. It's a medium of exchange with known physical properties, is relatively stable (will not disintegrate over time) and it cannot be conjured into existence like fiat currency (by the printing press). However, the price can be driven into the stratosphere by excessive demand which can then be followed by a crash. Of course, the best time to acquire is sometime before it tops out. Good luck. Despite the caveats, I suppose if you were attentive enough and if you had relevant information, you could find opportunity just about anywhere but again no one has a crystal ball so diverification is the best strategy. ( I think it was Nassim Nicholas Taleb who suggested 90% in safe investments (preservation of capital) vs 10% in risky.) Talk to an investment specialist. Other than that, I’ve basically come to the conclusion that for the majority of folks we’re at the mercy of circumstances. If the worst happens... read this. Oh, BTW, don't expect a war to get us out of the mess. If it happens (again) it's perhaps only part of the mess, not the eventual solution. Spending on war has to come from somewhere--tax revenues, deficit spending (there's no free lunch)--though I suppose it could have the effect of creative destruction.
  13. 1900% beer tax proposed for Oregon OMG!

    Take a look at California. Despite being a high tax state, it cannot hide the fact that its spending was not controlled enough to weather a sizable downturn. The state itself has a problem with the entitlement outlook of assumed growth of tax revenues. When did we as a society begin to look at gov't as the fixer of all things? Is that really the type of relationship we want with gov't?
  14. Split the Department of Defense?

    It seems that discussing the splitting of DoD is only one part of the coming change, and perhaps already well underway. The other part which he only hinted out by using words like G7(or G20) and invoking the United Nations indicates a global paradigm much like global climate change requires a global response. So...where does the US Constitution really come into this? Another indication for the development of the global response paradigm is through dividing the mission of countering a strategic threat into the first stage use of a 'Leviathan' force transitioning into the subsequent stage use of a 'systems admin' force (nation building or stabilization). Look at the visuals in the slide talk to see indications for that global emphasis. Overall, it sounds like an intelligent approach. So, for instance, you can use social scientists in 'human terrain analysis' for cultural advantage. But what if the destabilizing force is not an ideology but rather instability caused by climate change? You might be able to pacify populations but nature? Putting out brush fires one after another will be costly especially for institutions that are tax revenue intensive, especially in the current fiscal picture. Besides within two generations the Leviathon military will eventually be replaced with robot drones in the air and on the ground.
  15. Obamas stimulus bill may crash the economy

    I don't know anything. I'm still trying to resolve some inconsistencies to get an coherent understanding of what might be going on. Well, despite the liquidity increase, there is some wealth destruction occurring associated with the deleveraging (don't ask me to explain this). Also, with the banks hoarding money etc, the velocity of money has slowed. I think it's a question of scale and the up-and-down movements relative to a particular time frame. Again, it's trying to sort out the different things being spoken of: for example, stock market vs. economy, definition of inflation, currency exchange, the effect of the dollar's value on certain dollar denominated commodities, the list goes on... But one thing we do have is the record of the past, which might not be an indicator of future performance but on the other hand, it may hint at a possible future. See this illustration: http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/images/1929-stock-market-crash-dow-chart-image005.png followed by this article that suggests today is analogous to 1931 ( Bad news: we're back to 1931. Good news: it's not 1933 yet ). Actually, this is all rather esoteric for me and my main concern lies in hoping the company I'm employed by has the cash flow to maintain its head above water.
  16. Obamas stimulus bill may crash the economy

    The idea basically is that the government will be able to service its debt if the debt remains a relatively small proportion of the GDP. If the debt becomes a larger percentage of the GDP and/or GDP decreases then there may be problems with managing the debt. In this case, a government runs the risk of going bankrupt ( Can Countries Really Go Bankrupt?). For examples of government bankruptcies, check out the history of France. There are several options available when this becomes likely. One solution is simply by government decree (fiat). Another way involves decreasing the debt or its interest by reducing its nominal value by inflation. The latter method has become more common. So, I’m guessing that Schiff thinks that foreign investment will no longer prop up our debt through the purchase of US Treasuries. If I understand correctly, with the loss of this underwriting then we cannot continue to finance the ballooning cost of government functions through deficit spending. Our currency is under risk too because of the massive liquidity introduced into the system thereby planting the seeds of hyperinflation. However, it is this very inflation that the government seeks to generate to avoid bankruptcy because the debt will be paid through inflated dollars (essentially, inflationary times are good for debtors, bad for creditors). Some ‘conspiracy theorists’ say this is the reason the Federal Reserve ceased publication of M3 ( Money supply). Schiff’s solution to the coming crisis, however, was diverification including investment in foreign equities. Although Mish disagrees ( Peter Schiff Was Wrong ) about foreign equities, both agree that gold and silver may be the one of the better options currently (deflation or inflation) to preserve capital assuming that these are not yet overvalued. The demand was so high that in December of last year we experienced something called backwardation for a day or so in the gold market, meaning that no monetary gold was for sale at any price. Regardless, gold appears to be a safe haven ( Sprott Says U.S. Depression Will Boost Gold Price). How do you judge when a flight to quality begins to have the characteristics of a speculative bubble? In any event, diverification is the best bet.
  17. Amish Hackers

    Hey, great website. Reading through the article, I came across the word: steampunk. That term refers to an alternate line of history or a counterculture having a revival of past. I suppose today's counterpart in finance would be a return to 'sound' money that has a basis in gold or other real material (despite its inherent problems). Another thing is that positive social technological advancement isn't necessarily the addition of computing power or the consumption of energy, it's more about how we use our time so that it's really a reconnection with the true nature of what we are. I was going to try to integrate this with climbing, for example, the use of leashed ice tools to leashless tools, that it depends on the adage of function over form, but I let it go.
  18. DuBye, UAE

    Some see Armageddon, Others, a new beginning. But yeah, you gotta recognize who's selling what. [video:youtube]7eUcRjo9Yv4 [video:youtube]_BnqCMyV43E Peter J. Cooper’s Weblog
  19. DuBye, UAE

    Not down and out yet. --Global banks eye Dubai to cut costs and motivate staff /February 11, 2009 --Microsoft Locates Worldwide Oil and Gas Business in Dubai /Feb. 10, 2009
  20. If You Open Your Mind Too Much...

    I wonder what his wife looks like? In a narrow sense, vaccination works on a similar principle of 'like treating like' so that if you receive an immunization for this year's flu bug then it stimulates your immune system to resist the virus. Of course, to be effective the treatment occurs before the onset of symptoms rather than afterwards. Damn those comics.
  21. $900,000,000,000.00 in Pork

    -- Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis / Research Department Staff Report 421 (The Current Financial Crisis: What Should We Learn from the Great Depressions of the Twentieth Century?)
  22. Your government's secrecy at risk

    Are you quite so certain that you correctly interpret what you read and that your reading translates into practice exactly as you interpreted? If so, then when I ask questions it must be a sign that I must be suffering from Dunning-Kruger effect .
  23. Not Coraline but Caroline!

    It's all about Netanyahu isn't it? Netanyahu Warns Obama on Talks as He Challenges Livni
  24. Your government's secrecy at risk

    Anthony R. is not immune from overstatement. The issue is far from over, Obama just took office, so we'll all see how it plays out. Meanwhile, it seems as though my assertion that the AFM complies with Common Article 3 is, in fact, correct. The way I see it, the devil in the details or lack thereof. The reason I mention this is that you make the Obama administration out to be the antithesis of the Bush administration, that the new administration is morally superior. However, the Obama administration has reserved the right to use extraordinary methods if required. See Leon Panetta's testimony regarding such. I think it's just the reality of the political machine to be astute with regards to public and world perception. Look at how Obama or his administration actually proceeded with regard to matters such as FISA reform (telecom immunity, warrantless surveillance), alleged torture in contradiction to human rights, etc. For instance, watch how this case ( Rendition case in S.F. to test Obama policies ) unfolds. Again, the devil is in the details or lack thereof. Under which Article do unlawful enemy combatants fall? Common Article 3 covers lawful combatants as prisoners of war. Common Article 4 covers civilians (not combatants). Appendix M appears to prohibit certain actions, for instance, sensory deprivation is stated as not allowed but there is no distinction made between total sensory deprivation and partial sensory deprivations such as absence of light.
  25. Your government's secrecy at risk

    ACLU? Obama Endorses Bush Secrecy On Torture And Rendition