Thursday, October 31, 2013

More Market Bubble Talk Bubbling Up: Time to Take Profits?

Well it seems that some heavy hitters are talking about a FED funny money bubble forming in the market.

Larry Fink, CEO of Blackrock, the world's largest money manager, warned this week that the Fed's quantitative easing policy was leading to the formation of market bubbles and advised the central bank to start tapering immediately. 

Meanwhile Robert Heller, former Governor at the Fed from 1986 to 1989, told CNBC on Thursday that markets were "perilously close" to the formation of a bubble. 

The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones have risen 24.5 percent and nearly 20 percent, respectively, year to date. 

Well a 24.5 gain should be banked for sure and cash raised for a sell off. It would be nice for a correction to pop up in the market so I can buy some stocks at a discount. I just cant see the Stock Market making new highs every few days without some kind of pullback.

The warning sign of a bubble is whenever someone says "This time it is different." and Jeff Reeves of MarketWatch just did. 

But investors need to ask themselves why we bother comparing stocks to the same valuation metrics from a century ago when so much has changed on Wall Street in regards to the way we trade and the way companies operate. 

Companies still do the same things as they did a century ago. They try to make a good product and have people buy the product. The scale of the capital they have is different (Apple has $150 billion in cash) but at the end of the day they make good products that people want. As soon as they stop making a good product they will get clobbered.

At least this time the "new economy" stocks like Google and Facebook are making money unlike the Dotbombs of 2000. The problem is if the stock price of Google and Facebook actually match up with reality. If not there will be nice correction before we can go any higher.

CNN Pulls in Only 67,000 viewers last night

Out of the 313 million people living in the US only 67,000 people tuned into CNN.

Not only was CNN behind rivals Fox News Channel (396,000) and MSNBC (127,000) but also it did worse than sister station HLN (93,000) and CNBC (79,000). The most watched show on CNN last night was Piers Morgan Live at 9 PM which got a soft 83,000 in the demo and 340,000 viewers overall. Overall CNN had 285,000 viewers in primetime last night compared to MSNBC’s 683,000 and FNC’s 2.312 million.

The CNN viewers could easily fit into Candlestick Park with a few 1000 seats to spare. That must be truly galling.

Send in the Reinforcements: Obamacare Brings in Google

From the "they should have done this in the first place" department we have Obamacare scrambling to get some tech help to fix their website.

An engineer from technology giant Google has been recruited to help fix, the new federal insurance exchange website.

Software companies Red Hat and Oracle will also assist, according to Julie Bataille, spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which has coordinated the development of the site that has experienced numerous problems in its first month of operations.

If the Government approached Google from the beginning to bid for the website maybe it would have been working decently. Instead it has been the worst product roll out in decades.

I was watching a Bloomberg video that had some talking head going on about Obama being totally engaged in the website fix it process. It gave me a mental image from the movie Lincoln where the president is waiting in in the telegraph room for news from the war. Instead it is Obama looking at an iPad and it says "error 404, webpage not found." He looks up and says "the Obamacare dream has died today" and slumps into a chair as the iPad slips from his nerveless fingers.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

National Review to GOP: Just Win Baby!

I have to agree with the advice to the GOP contained in this article.

The key premise that has been guiding these conservatives, however, is mistaken. That premise is that the main reason conservatives have won so few elections and policy victories, especially recently, is a lack of ideological commitment and will among Republican politicians. A bigger problem than the insufficient conservatism of our leaders is the insufficient number of our followers. There aren’t enough conservative voters to elect enough officials to enact a conservative agenda in Washington, D.C. — or to sustain them in that project even if they were elected. The challenge, fundamentally, isn’t a redoubling of ideological commitment, but more success at persuasion and at winning elections.

The idea that the country is center right might be true but you have to think about the center part. Conservative ideas need to used to persuade centrist Americans instead of going after some mythical enclave of far right people. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Defending Main Street a New Center-Right, Pro-Business Alternative to the Tea Party?

This sounds like just what America needs as an antidote to the Tea Party sickness.

But there's also Defending Main Street, a new GOP-leaning group that's halfway to its goal of raising $8 million. It plans to spend that money on center-right Republicans who face a triumvirate of deep-pocketed conservative groups — Heritage Action, Club for Growth and Freedom Works — and their preferred, typically tea party candidates.

Hopefully, they can get a few hedge fund billionaires to open their wallets to support this kind of group. I mean the Tea Party seems directly against their interests.

Call it the wrath of establishment Republicans and corporate America, always considered the best of friends. Since the Republican takeover of the House in 2010, they've watched the GOP insurgents slow a transportation bill and reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, block a treaty governing the high seas and stand in the way of comprehensive immigration legislation.

The final straw was the bitter budget standoff that partly shuttered the government, precipitated by Republicans like Amash and Bentivolio who enlisted early in the campaign demanding that President Barack Obama dismantle his health care law in exchange for keeping the government operating.

I think I might look into this Defending Main Street and send them a few bucks to get rid of the Tea Party rot that is affecting the GOP.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Insane Pastor Attacks Girls Scouts: "Antithetical to a biblical vision of womanhood?"

What is so good about the biblical vision of womanhood? Those times were brutish and horrible and tribe wiped out tribe the the last man. People rarely lived past their 30s and many women died in childbirth. And people wonder why the Religious Reich get such a bad name?

Most recently, Pastor Kevin Swanson this week used his show, His Generations Radio, to denounce the Girl Scouts as "a wicked organization" whose "vision of America is antithetical to a biblical vision of womanhood." He urged listeners not to incur the Almighty's wrath by buying Tagalogs and Do-Si-Dos, saying, "I don't want to support lesbianism, I don't want to support Planned Parenthood, and I don't want to support abortion. And if that be the case I'm not buying Girl Scout cookies."

If my Samoas money goes into supporting lesbianism, Planned Parenthood, and abortion then I really should buy more. I'm pretty sure Pastor Swanson is reading quite a bit more than is normal into the Girl Scouts and what they stand for.

Republicans Ignore Heritage Action and Pass Water Projects Bill: Maybe some Grown-Ups Left in the GOP?

It was only a few billion dollars but it shows that the House can actually work together to pass something that will benefit most Americans that live near a waterway of some sort. They actually defied some of the heavy hitters that normally hold their reigns.

To pass the bill, many conservative Republicans had to ignore FreedomWorks, Taxpayers for Common Sense, Heritage Action for America and seven other outside groups that wrote lawmakers in opposition to the bill, saying it didn't do enough to cut spending or block unneeded projects. Both FreedomWorks and Heritage Action had whipped up support for the government shutdown.

It seems that the Chamber of Commerce is wielding more power in the House as well.

Business groups, led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, had pressured lawmakers to vote for the bill and highlighted its potential to create jobs. The chamber distributed state-by-state fact sheets and made the measure a "key vote" when it determines which lawmakers to support in next year's election.

Maybe some GOP members are finding out that it was FreedomWorks and Heritage Action that called for the idiots in the Tea Party to damage the Republican Party for no gain at all. I still hope the Chamber of Commerce actually throws some money at pro-business fiscal conservatives to muscle out the Tea Party imbeciles.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Democratic Senator Prepping Bill to Delay Tax Penalties from Not Having Insurance

It is as if Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) suddenly joined the Tea Party.

In the wake of the disastrous rollout of, the website where consumers can purchase health insurance, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has begun drafting a bill that would delay the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate by a year, his office confirmed.

It's unclear what the Manchin-sponsored legislation would contain, but the version being floated would delay the penalty for not purchasing insurance. Customers could still purchase insurance if they wish. 

It also seems that other Democrats are trying to stave off the tax penalty for not buying insurance as well.

Sen. Jeanne  Shaheen (D-N.H.) became on Tuesday the first Democrat to push for a delay of sorts. She wrote a letter to the White House  asking for an extension to open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act beyond March 31, 2014. 

What is so funny is Ted Cruz damaged the GOP for no reason. It seems that is going to sink Obamacare faster than anything that idiot could have come up with. It seems like the do-nothing and let it fail was the best plan after all.

Obamacare Roars out of the Box for North Dakota: 14 People Have Signed Up with Blue Cross Since October 1st!

Well it seems that Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota is just cleaning up with Obamacare. They have signed up 14 people since October 1st that have come from the website.

The North Dakota online publication Inforum on Tuesday quoted a Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota spokesman as saying just 14 state residents have signed up with that insurer, the largest in the state, since the Oct. 1 launch of Only six other people in North Dakota have signed up with other carriers, according to Inforum, which noted that means an enrollment rate of less than one person per day.

Wow, slow down Blue Cross Blue Shield! At this rate they will have a 100 people (not 100s but exactly 100 people) with insurance by the cutoff next year. At this rate they should have everyone in North Dakota signed up by the the year 3929. Just a little less than 2000 years from now. That's fast for government work.
Blue Cross Blue Shield official James Nichol, speaking at a public meeting in Fargo on Monday, revealed that earlier that same day the federal government had asked the insurer not to reveal enrollment figures. 

I'm sure the White House had the best of intentions to have the insurer hush-up these scintillating numbers. They are the most open Administration of all time I am told. 

The Washington Post on Tuesday reported that CMS director Tavenner earlier that same day had told directors of state Medicaid agencies that is still not able to electronically enroll people in Medicaid, which is the government health insurance program for many poor people. is even stopping poor people from getting free insurance. Now that is one website that ignores class. It sucks equally for all Americans regardless of income.

Pope Francis Smacks Down Bishop of Bling

Pope Francis is cracking down on high spending German Bishop Franz Peter Tebartz-van Elst.

The pope's decision to expel the "Bishop of Bling" – as he has been dubbed in the international media – takes effect immediately.

A final decision on the future of the big spending priest will be determined only after the German Bishop Conference has finished a detailed report on the cost of the construction remodelling of the bishop's official residence. The pope was reportedly told last week that the final costs may reach $55 million, $13 million over the already substantial price tag.

Wow I wonder how many hot meals $55 million can buy the poor people of Diocese of Limburg?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Consumer Reports Tips to Access Use a Different Browser to Verify Your Identity? What the what?

This has to be the worst roll-out of a major website in the history of tech. Keep in mind that this fiasco cost $400 million.

Consumer Reports tried to give potential users some advice:
  • First, follow very carefully the needlessly complicated instructions for creating a password that has at least seven characters and at least one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter, one number and one symbol.
  • Second, as soon as you encounter a problem logging on, start over, since you can’t believe what the error messages tell you.
  • If you happen to make it through, keep a sharp eye out for an e-mail confirming your account, or you’ll soon be timed out.
  • Finally, when verifying your identity on the site, you may want to do it from a different browser than the one you registered from.
Got it? The publication’s bottom line: “Stay away from for at least another month if you can.”

I don't even understand that last suggestion. What does your browser type have to do with verifying your identity? It is almost like that was created in the 90s and you can view the site with IE 5 but not with Mozilla or something. The snail mail solution via a call center is even worse.

Going old school isn’t much easier. Megan McArdle of Bloom­berg View talked to a representative at an ObamaCare call center who said you could fill out a paper form — but it would take three weeks for it to be sent to your house and, after you send it back, a couple of more weeks until you are notified of your eligibility for subsidies. The representative wasn’t clear on what happens next.

So 5 weeks or more to find out if you are even eligible for subsidies or not? This is in a world where I can buy a million different products from Amazon and have them at my doorstep tomorrow morning. Hell, I could order something from Best Buy, while driving to Best Buy, and pick it up when I get there. This is a world where I can listen to every song I own on my phone, in my car, and then on my TV nearly seamlessly just with a few taps. It just boggles the mind that it takes 5 weeks via phone to verify if you are eligible for subsidies or not. It is so sad that Ted Cruz shut down the government and obscured how bad signing up for Obamacare really is for weeks.

The Inside Story of the Debt Negotiations

This is an interesting article on what went on in the White House before the debt default can kick.

Behind the scenes, administration officials were pulling any lever they could. They called business leaders, Republican lobbyists and GOP wise men to solicit ideas on how to move Boehner. They pleaded with them to call Republican congressional offices as well. (Obama told the Senate Democrats that one CEO, who went unnamed, was refusing to return Boehner's calls, angry at his alliance with the tea party.) The president recognized that the GOP wanted what he called "a bloody shirt" in exchange for funding the government and raising the debt limit. But their demands were outlandish to the point of being laughable: At a meeting with House Democrats, Obama joked that the Republican ransom list was so long, the only thing it didn't include was his resignation. And even if the demands had been reasonable, he had resolved on principle not to meet them. 

I wonder who that CEO was that didn't return Boehners calls. My guess it was probably someone in the financial industry because they would have been on the front line if there was a debt default. Maybe it was Jamie Dimon because he would be damn angry at Boehner for playing russian roulette with the economy. It also seemed we got pretty close to the edge before some grown-ups stepped in.

It was another bit of defiance against Obama's demand that reform of his health care law was off the table, and despair began to set in at both Reid's office and the White House. One senior administration official said concerns heightened that Tuesday that the country would default. Reid shared the fear. 

"Oh, yeah," he said when asked if there were moments he thought the country would hit the debt limit. "Oh, yes. Absolutely, absolutely. People were giving speeches that it wouldn't hurt anything. Of course there was worry. I was trying to be logical and rational dealing with illogical and irrational people. I was damned scared."

19 million Visits to and 476K Submitted Applications

Well it seems that is barely signing anyone up.

Breaking it down further, the administration's data notes that a bit more than half of the 476,000 applications have come from the federally run, and that, in the interim, it's encouraging people to use call centers to sign up for health insurance. In fact, call center head count has been beefed up by 50% to meet increased questions and demand while technicians continue to work out the numerous architectural flaws in the government-run website.

Finally, we also found out that the number of people who had visited through Friday night had risen to 19 million.

So 19 million visits and less than 500k or so actually sign up for anything? Now that sounds like it sure wasn't worth the billions of dollars that was rolled into Obamacare.

Monday, October 21, 2013

McDonald's Mighty Wings Dismal Failure: Don't Compete Head to Head with Hooters

It seems that Mighty Wings were not the success that McDonalds counts on to drive their revenue.

1. Price: In McDonald's terms, Mighty Wings are a premium product. The wings come in packs of three for $3.69, five for $5.59, and 10 for $9.69. Thompson said the prices, which are similar to Buffalo Wild Wings, were  “not the most competitive.”

2. Spice: Thompson said the wings were too spicy for many customers' tastes. 

3. Appearance: The Mighty Wings looked too much like "McNuggets with bones," writes Susan Berfield at Bloomberg Businessweek.

4. Economy: Many McDonald's customers are still struggling financially—and are more likely to spend their hard-earned money on a tried-and-true favorite.

When you are going against Buffalo Wild Wings and Hooters you will always come up short. The idea of 10 wings for $10 is kind of a rip off when you compare them to Wing Wednesdays at Hooters. All you can eat wings is $17 at Hooters and comes with all you can eat fries. 

Each plate is about 8 wings at Hooters so you only have to eat two plates in order to get ahead of McDonalds value-wise. Hooters also has the advantage of all sorts of different sauces you can get with the wings as well. There really isn't any comparison between the two.  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Ted Cruz wants to Shut Down the Government Again: Can't someone shut him up?

Well I can't wait until the GOP actually shuts the Tea Party down before the Dems get a hold of all levers of power again.

Tea party Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas told ABC News he wouldn't rule out using the tactic again, when the same budget and debt questions come up next year.

"I will continue to do anything I can to stop the train wreck that is Obamacare," Cruz said.

That divide defined the warring Republican factions ahead of the midterm elections, when 35 seats in the Democratic-controlled Senate and all 435 seats in the Republican-dominated House will be on the ballot. In the nearer term, difficult debates over immigration and farm policy loom, along with another round of budget and debt talks.

Yup the stakes are pretty high. I really hope the Chamber of Commerce and some Wall Street fat cats get together and throw some money at pro-Growth Republicans instead of the pro-Crazy Tea Partiers. I mean it seems that no-one is still left on the Tea Party bandwagon other than true believers.

A Pew Research Center poll released this week showed public favorability for the Tea Party dropped to its lowest level since driving the Republican takeover of the House in the 2010 elections. An AP-Gfk poll showed that 70 percent now hold unfavorable views of the Tea Party.

70% unfavorable rating. That is pathetic. The definition of crazy is doing the same thing that failed over and over thinking they will get a different result. If Cruz shuts down the Government again for no reason then I think Texas voters need to mount a recall petition against him on the grounds that he is insane.

Hey Queen Schedule the Visit with Malala for the Weekend so She Doesn't Miss Class

Malala, who got jobbed out of the Nobel Peace Prize, visited the Queen on Friday.

The 16-year-old advocate for girls' education and survivor of a Taliban assassination attempt gave the 87-year-old queen a copy of her book, "I Am Malala," and spoke Friday with her about the importance of education.

Malala said she wouldn't ordinarily miss a school day but had made an exception. The pair also chatted about Malala's homeland, Pakistan's Swat Valley, which the queen visited decades ago.

I know the Queen is busy and all but couldn't she have met Malala on Saturday so she didn't have to miss a day of school? Malala's whole mission is to bring education to the worlds children so making her miss school to meet you is counterproductive. I mean the Queen could have came by after the school day is done as well. In any case hopefully Malala will get a chance to make up the work that the Queen made her miss.

More Advice for the Republicans: Growth Instead of Cuts

The more I read about this the more I think this issue will be what resurrects the GOP going forward.

But I don’t find this smattering of historical evidence persuasive enough to endorse sudden and severe budget cuts with interest rates at historical lows.(Even Rand Paul’s austere budget plan wouldn’t balance until 2018.) Given that the average US debt-to-GDP ratio was 37% from 1957 through 2007, a better policy goal would be to immediately shift — via entitlement reform and pro-growth polices rather than more discretionary spending cuts — the debt-to-GDP ratio onto a downward trajectory back toward that 37% level, if not lower, over the next two decades. That would be a far smarter and feasible agenda for Republicans and conservatives and libertarians of all types.

Lift all boats instead of trying to sink certain boats. I think if the Republican field talked more about raising GDP growth and less about what departments to get rid of Romney might have had a better chance. Instead of killing Big Bird he could have said he would let Public Broadcasting charge a licensing fee to Disney or whomever to aggressively market their characters. Don't kill whatever it is but find ways to make it grow.

A "pro-growth GOP" instead of a "makers vs. takers GOP" is just what America needs. A candidate saying "we want to help everyone, even Democrats" in a folksy way will go a long way to getting independents to vote GOP again.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wow Even Forbes is Calling the GOP the Stupid Party

Well I have to agree with them on this point though.

Make no mistake: Obamacare is a very bad thing. It’s even worse than the public currently realizes. It is vital that Obamacare be replaced by something workable.** However, to assault Obamacare with this particular weapon (a government shutdown over the “continuing resolution,” or “CR”), at this particular time (moments before the Obamacare “exchanges” crashed and burned on October 1), was an example of the “Stupid Party” richly deserving its sobriquet.

The bad part is that you knew that the exchanges were going to be a disaster. They only had a little while to work on them and they didn't dole them out to a tech powerhouse like Google. If they did that at least you would have someone to blame for their failure. Too bad we barely even hear about that failure because of the shutdown and debt limit fights.

I agree if the GOP pursued this plan to grow our way toward a better future instead of cutting spending they would gain back some measure of popularity.

Raising our long-term average real GDP growth rate by only 0.27 percentage points, from the CBO’s pathetic 2.21% to a still-anemic 2.48% would increase the present value of federal revenues by $205 trillion. This would close the fiscal gap, with no tax increases and no spending cuts. Growth is the only sane option, and is the only thing that the Republicans should be fighting for right now.

Imagine if we could get that growth to 3% or 5% or something. Growth lifts all boats and makes the lives of every American better. If the GOP ditched the slash and burn form of budgeting and thought long and hard about growing the GDP they would keep America great. The winning play is to push energy independence ahead of everything else.

The Shutdown Cost $12 to $24 Billion?

The worst part is that money was wasted pretty much for no reason.

MacroEconomic Advisors estimates the shutdown cost the economy $12 billion. S&P used a broader forecasting model and estimates the 16-day shutdown cost the economy $24 billion, or about $1 million per minute. Since 2009, MacroEconomic Advisors estimates "fiscal uncertainty" -- debt-ceiling fights, shutdowns, threats of default, etc. -- have cost the economy $150 billion in lost output and 900,000 jobs. Gallup's Economic Confidence index suffered the largest drop since 2008 last week.

I think we should garnish the wages of Congress and all of their staffers until that money is paid back with interest. It would take like a 100 years but no matter. I still bristle that Congress was paid this entire time and 700,000 federal workers were not.  

In the Face: Ross Douthat Blasts Conservatives

I have to agree with every word this guy says in his article.

However you slice and dice the history, the strategery, and the underlying issues, the decision to live with a government shutdown for an extended period of time — inflicting modest-but-real harm on the economy, needlessly disrupting the lives and paychecks of many thousands of hardworking people, and further tarnishing the Republican Party’s already not-exactly-shiny image — in pursuit of obviously, obviously unattainable goals was not a normal political blunder by a normally-functioning political party. It was an irresponsible, dysfunctional and deeply pointless act, carried out by a party that on the evidence of the last few weeks shouldn’t be trusted with the management of a banana stand, let alone the House of Representatives.

This entire affair was a giant own goal on the GOP. They have shown that they cannot effectively govern when money is involved.

Media Claims the GOP at Fault for Shutdown: Yeah Pretty Much

Well it seems the news media is blaming the GOP for the shutdown. Um, unfortunately they are right.

Of the 124 stories broadcast on the ABC, NBC and CBS nightly newscasts about the shutdown from Oct. 1 through Oct. 15, the study found 41 blamed Republicans or conservatives for the impasse, 17 blamed both sides and none specifically blamed Democrats.

In the two weeks leading up to the shutdown, the MRC said, the same networks ran 21 stories blaming Republicans, four blaming both sides and none blaming Democrats.

That's 62 blaming Republicans and none blaming Democrats for those of you keeping score at home.

In this case they are actually reporting the facts. It was the GOP that tried to use a shutdown and a threat of world economic catastrophe to de-fund, delay, deflate, defecate on Obamacare. They failed miserably and were left with their backs to the wall when Obama wouldn't cooperate. As if Obama would have actually dismantled the only domestic policy victory of his first term.

What is sad is the GOP could have done nothing and just harped that the Obamacare was a dismal failure and had a stronger hand in 2014. They could have had an Obamacare fix-it plan up and running right after that. Instead they will probably lose seats and destroy themselves.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I Think the Tea Party is Dangerous for World Markets

One thing this whole budget default and government shutdown mess has taught me is that the Tea Party cannot be trusted going forward. With all of the talk of a debt default being good for the world economy and Ted Cruz's filibuster kabuki they have lost me as a supporter.

They pretty much put the GOP in a box canyon that they couldn't fight out of. Shut the government down to defund, destroy, delay Obamacare? Sounds like an interesting idea but it doesn't come close to a plan to " just let Obamacare fail on its own" and make changes to the worst parts. Instead of burning down the house remodel it. They pretty much shut down the government for a lost cause.

The GOP had a goldmine of sentiment if the press would have focused on how badly Obamacare was rolled out. There could have been endless stories about the website crashing, people not getting coverage, companies paying through the nose, or people having their healthcare costs triple. Instead we had government shutdown stories about how park rangers blocked WW2 vets from getting into an open air memorial and stopping people from looking at Mr. Rushmore. The Tea Party had the news media focusing on the wrong thing at the wrong time. We even have the idea now that the government shutdown is what screwed up the Obamacare roll-out. That isn't true but it is very easy to make that point.

Then we come to the debt default. That would have been a man-made catastrophe that could have put us into a depression. We had Tea Party crazies talking about letting us default so we can "get spending under control." Getting spending down to a manageable size is a laudable goal but trying to enact it via brinksmanship is just idiotic. You don't govern via threats. You win elections and get things passed with a majority or do some horse trading with the other side. Compromise instead of catastrophe.

The Tea Party would have been perfectly happy to have us default on our debt and have the county go into a depression for their asinine goals. If they had it their way they would have seen a 1200 point drop on the market on Friday. So that means I cannot trust them with my 401K and my portfolio. If I can't trust them with my money (which is the bedrock tenet of the GOP that I have known since I was a kid) then I cannot trust them to do anything else.

So I am going to give what little money I have budgeted for campaign contributions to moderate, pro-business, pro-market GOP members that I hope will be fiscally sound. The Tea Party as it stands now is trying to hurt me in the pocketbook like the Dems usually do. I can't support that kind of stupidity anymore. If Ted Cruz gets the nomination I will vote ABC (anybody but Cruz.)

At Last the Grownups Have Arrived: Can is Kicked to Next Year

Well it seemed to be much ado about nothing. The GOP damaged their brand, Obamacare rushes on, and stocks went down for no reason.

Senate leaders announced last-minute agreement Wednesday to avert a threatened Treasury default and reopen the government after a partial, 16-day shutdown. Congress raced to pass the measure by day's end. 

The Dow Jones industrial average soared on the news that the threat of default was fading, flirting with a 200-point gain in morning trading. 

Sounds good to me. It also pointed out that the House was a mess and needs to be fixed before anything can get done.

Boehner crafted two versions of the bill, but neither made it to a House vote because both faced certain defeat. Working against him was word during the day from the influential Heritage Action for America group that his legislation was not conservative enough — a worrisome threat for many GOP lawmakers whose biggest electoral fears are of primary challenges from the right.  

Yes the Heritage Action group said that legislation that would damage the world economy was not "conservative enough." They are no longer fiscally conservative enough for my tastes.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fire all the Bums in Congress? 60% of Americans Agree and So Do I

Well it seems that Congress has overplayed their hand in the whole debt ceiling, defund Obamacare, Ted Cruz is insane, shut down the government fracas and the American people are hopping mad.

Indeed, the NBC News/WSJ poll asked whether voters would be willing to check a box on the ballot that would defeat everyone in Congress, including their own representatives. Sixty percent of those surveyed were willing to play 52-card pickup and start all over again with 535 new members of Congress.

I agree that snap elections every X-amount of years should be built into the system. That would get grognards like Daniel Inouye or Strom Thruman out of the Senate in some way other than their death.  Maybe they should set up a rule that every 8 years all Senate and House seats are vacated. No winners can run in consecutive elections. A Congressman can run again but only after the guy that took the job after him has completed his 8 year term for a Senator or two 4 year terms for the House.

I think this idea would get new blood circulating in and out of the Congress like what happens for the President every 8 years. This also frees Congressmen from constantly beating the bushes for money for their endless re-election campaigns. You would actually see Congressmen fighting lobbyists, defying the Tea Party, spurning Grover Norquist, and refusing George Soros's money etc.

Maybe some of the money will drain out of politics you only have that guy for 8 years. He can cash a fat cats check and then vote his conscious and not have to worry about going back to that fat cat for money for re-election.

Yeah I have to Admit it the GOP are Economic Dolts

I read this article and some parts mined from the liberal drivel has solidified my thinking that the GOP needs to go back to college and take Economics 101 again.

For Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the threat of America not paying its debts is not so much about economics as semantics. "It really is irresponsible of the president to try to scare the markets," he said. "If you don't raise your debt ceiling, all you're saying is, ‘We're going to be balancing the budget.' … the American public will say that sounds like a pretty reasonable idea."

The threat of America not paying its debts makes the entire world nervous. It isn't scare tactics to say that a debt default will be bad for every person that needs to buy a house, buy a car on credit, pay off a variable rate mortgage, or has a 401k. That adds up to millions of Americans harmed due to "semantics." This part is especially hard:

Ignorance about business, finance and economics is new to the GOP, which was once the proud party of big business and Wall Street. Now driven by the Tea Party, angry at bankers and Wall Street types who were saved by the government from bankruptcy in 2008 and 2009, the congressional GOP is being pushed around by a radical sect willing to risk the collapse of the world economy rather than accept that the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land.

Or willing to just let the Affordable Care Act fail miserably and then come in and clean up the bad parts. I assume the Tea Party isn't against insurance companies selling insurance in a marketplace. There just needs to be changes to the individual mandate and a few other things.

Also the vitriol from the Tea Party about the government bailouts seems unfounded because the US actually made money on some parts of the bailouts. The companies have paid us back with interest. I firmly believe that without the bailouts we would be in a deep depression now with bread lines etc. Instead the Treasury made decent returns on my tax money. I'm just waiting for my dividend check.

In any case I think that Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce needs to start sending money to more pro-business candidates instead of Tea Party radicals. I would take a Hank Paulson in Congress (if he wanted to take a pay cut) before Michele Bachmann any day.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

GOP Blinks: Kicks Can for 6 weeks: Thank God!

I'm so glad that grownups have finally taken back the keys in Washington.

Republicans in the House of Representatives offered a plan on Thursday that would postpone a possible U.S. default and urged President Barack Obama to negotiate an end to the 10-day government shutdown.

The move signaled a new willingness by Republicans to break a standoff of their own making that has thrown America's future creditworthiness into question.

I think this may have spurred them to finally take the gun away from the head of the world economy:

Opinion polls indicate that Republicans appear to be getting more of the blame for the standoff. The Republican Party's approval rating now stands at a record low of 28 percent, according to Gallup, down 10 points from pre-shutdown levels. The Democratic Party's approval rating has dipped slightly to 43 percent.

This gap between the GOP and the Dems was just too large to ignore. People just see the GOP as a bunch of extremists that would torpedo the world economy just to delay Obamacare for one year. In other words they wanted to make everyone suffer for pretty much no reason. Even if Obamacare was defunded or delayed or whatever Obama would still have vetoed whatever came out of the Congress and there would be no way to override the veto. It was all futile and made stocks drop for nothing.

This might have gotten the Tea Party scared:

Business groups that have close ties to the Republican Party have also pressed for an end to the brinkmanship and some are laying plans to mount primary challenges next year to lawmakers who refuse to raise the debt ceiling.

I hope they do throw some money at pro-business candidates that can actually compromise instead of assgrabs like Ted Cruz who postured and preened for publicity and Ted Yoho who is economically illiterate. I want someone that is watching out for my 401K and not for themselves and their own egomania.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Fidelity Girds Their Loins: Sells off Short-Term Treasuries

I'm pretty sure they aren't the only ones taking precautions.

Money market portfolio managers at Fidelity Investments have been selling off their government debt holdings over the last couple of weeks, said Nancy Prior, president of Fidelity's Money Market Group. While Fidelity expects the debt ceiling issue to be resolved, the Boston-based asset manager said it is taking steps to protect investors.

Prior said that Fidelity no longer holds any U.S. debt that comes due in late October or early November, the window considered by many investors to be the most exposed if the government runs out of money and defaults on its obligations.

"We expect Congress will take the steps necessary to avoid default, but in our position as money market managers we have to take precautionary measures," Prior said.

Better safe than sorry. 

Paul Ryan Weighs in On Debt Default: He Seems Conciliatory

Well it seems that at least a few adults are showing up during these perilous times.

If Mr. Obama decides to talk, he'll find that we actually agree on some things. For example, most of us agree that gradual, structural reforms are better than sudden, arbitrary cuts. For my Democratic colleagues, the discretionary spending levels in the Budget Control Act are a major concern. And the truth is, there's a better way to cut spending. We could provide relief from the discretionary spending levels in the Budget Control Act in exchange for structural reforms to entitlement programs.

The problem though is Obama won't horse trade further on the debt ceiling because he would have to do it every time it has to be raised. I think some kind of deal needs to be done to get rid of the debt ceiling in exchange for tax and entitlement reforms. That way both parties get to win and we can have a nice Santa Claus rally to end the year with.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Alternative Names for the Redskins: I Pick the Washington Veterans

Well there seems like quite a bit of chatter to get the Redskins to change their names to something else.

Via the must-read-for-'Skins-fans blog Mr. Irrelevant comes this collection of possible new logos, featuring hypothetical names: The Washington Warriors, The Washington Renegades and The Washington Griffins. (Washington Jacklegs has already been claimed by Congress. Ha ha ha.)

These logos are the result of a contest over at 99 Design, and there are hundreds more where these came from, so check 'em out. And please, feel free to leave your comments on the merits of these below.

My vote would be for the Washington Veterans. They can have several uniforms that they can use to represent the various branches of the Military. A camouflage helmet and uniform like Army does from time to time. Maybe one with the Air Force colors like blue and white. They could also have a Marines one with their standard camo pattern and a Navy one that is grey and gold. They can wear each uniform 4 times a year away or at home. That would increase jersey sales I'm sure.

They could even have special helmets to honor POWs (the POW symbol on the helmet,) Navy Seals (all black helmet with the Navy team uniform,) WW2 Vets (a helmet that looks like a GI one with the netting on it,) Vietnam Vets (Jungle Camo helmets) etc.

Then what they need to do is let armed forces enlisted in uniform or veterans into their home games for free. You could even have them sit in a section of honor in the section next to the 50 yard line. A few free tickets wouldn't put much of a dent in the vast sums NFL teams take in. Also this should be the home team for the Armed Forces network overseas as well. What would be cool is that this would really be America's Team instead of the feckless Cowboys.

Wow I Actually Agree with the "Reid Gambit" to Raise the Debt Ceiling

It takes rare times for me to agree with anything that Harry Reid proposes but this "gambit" might just save the world economy.

Today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made his move. He plans to introduce legislation to increase the debt limit, and dare Republicans to kill it with a filibuster.

But it won’t be a straightforward dollar increase or a time-limited borrowing authority extension. Reid will likely use a mechanism to allow the president to increase the debt limit on his own, subject to a veto-able resolution of disapproval by the Congress. In other words, the only way the debt limit won’t increase is if two-thirds of both the House and Senate feel it must be pulled back into the realm of legislative horsetrading — something that will never happen absent bipartisan agreement.

In other words I assume Obama will invoke the 14th Amendment:

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

That "shall not be questioned" part is what Obama will invoke. Then Reid brings a resolution of disapproval that needs a 2/3 margin of the Senate to overcome. I bet you couldn't get 2/3 of the Senate to tell you if the sky was blue let alone censure Obama. Hell, I would even overlook some Lincoln style dirty tricks to get this thing passed.

If this gambit succeeds it means the debt ceiling would get raised and the entire mechanism will be found unconstitutional. Next year the Supreme Court would have to weight in but the economy is safe until then. Sounds like a good idea to me. Get it done before the market drops any further.

The GOP are Crazy if they Think We Could Prioritize Our Bills

Now this article just made me think there are no economically sane people left in the GOP.

To many Republicans, however, the prospect of the world's lone superpower juggling its bills doesn't seem so bad. The government could muddle through without a debt-ceiling increase as long as it kept up with interest payments and a few other priorities, they argue.

"We are not going to default on the public debt. That doesn't mean that we have to pay every bill the day it comes in," Republican Representative Joe Barton of Texas said on CNBC on Monday.

Barton's position could reflect a genuine disagreement with warnings by Wall Street and Washington analysts or he could be downplaying the default to gain tactical advantage in negotiations with President Barack Obama. But Barton isn't an outlier.

The US Government isn't like some put-upon family that needs to figure out which bills to pay first to prioritize things. This month we can pay the electric bill, the credit card bill, but let the cable bill slide. That does not cut it when you come to world markets. They see the US Government unwilling or unable to pay certain bills and they dump Treasuries. A technical default is still a default. A credit downgrade will still damage the recovery. Why do these people have to be so stupid?

The Problem is Obama Cried Wolf Too Many Times: His Credibility is Shot

I was thinking about all the sequestration nonsense we went through a few months back. We were given dire consequences from Obama and his cronies and none of them had come to pass. Now that we are facing a real wolf, one that can hurt every American, everyone is tuning him out.

You add to the fact that the NSA is reading your emails, the IRS is targeting political groups, and we still haven't gotten to the bottom of Bengazi and you have the perfect storm. People just don't trust Obama to tell us the truth when it comes to a default. Well, this time he is right and everyone who says "it won't be too bad" are dead wrong. I just wish Obama didn't cry wolf so his words would be heeded by stupid-assed Congress.

Obama Says Debt Default like Nuclear Bomb on the Economy: Um Yeah Pretty Much

I have to agree with Obama for once because he is exactly right on this point.

Throughout the hourlong question-and-answer session, during which he was not asked about Obamacare’s botched roll-out, the president took pains to counter lawmakers whose argument he mocked as “let's take default out for a spin and see how it rides.”
He called that an “insane” policy that would have a “catastrophic” impact on the economy, spreading “chaos” and even precipitating a “worldwide catastrophe.”

You don't need scare quotes because all of those things are dead-solid facts. If we default on our debt it would be the greatest man-made economic catastrophe in American history bar-none. It will devastate world credit markets, the stock market, the bond market, the repo market, the dollar, the mortgage market, and would probably be the reason that many banks in the US will go bankrupt. 

It will damage the economy of every major trading partner and will put us in a depression and the rest of the world in a deep recession for at least a year. It will probably freeze all credit markets for 3 to 6 month in which time some companies might not even be able to make payroll depending on their balance sheets.

Every American from the fat cat Wall Street banker to the kid that bags groceries at Safeway would feel it some way. I have read some reports of people stocking up on cash and buying water and food like a hurricane was bearing down on them. These are the smart people because in many ways a debt default will be longer-lasting then any hurricane could ever be.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Ted Yoho Congressman from Florida's 3rd District is Clinically Insane of He Believes This

This is the kind of scary thinking that is going to harm everyone in this country.

“I think we need to have that moment where we realize [we’re] going broke,” Yoho said. If the debt ceiling isn’t raised, that will sure as heck be a moment. “I think, personally, it would bring stability to the world markets,” since they would be assured that the United States had moved decisively to curb its debt.

There is just so much wrong with this statement it makes me question who Ted Yoho is. Okay he went to college at University of Florida. So he is a college graduate and didn't just wander into office from a mental institution in Gainseville. 
Oh it says that he a veterinarian by training. Okay that does explain why he doesn't know jack-crap about economics. Making sure horses are well and making sure a $12 trillion dollar Treasury Market functions after Oct. 17th are quite a bit different. This is exactly why there needs to be more economists in Congress than lawyers, doctors, and veterinarians combined.

If the Tea Party Causes a Debt Default Then They are the Enemy of the People

I was an original supporter of the Tea Party way back when it first started. Their message of a smaller government and lower taxes is what America needs in general. However, their ideals have been distorted into the mess we have now.

I don't care too much about the government shutdown beyond being able to shop at the Navy Exchange to buy a new Router. However, if it stretches beyond a few weeks it will get worse and worse on the economy.

"Both we and the consensus have had a baseline forecast that the government shutdown will be too short to impact 4Q GDP growth," write BAML economists Ethan Harris and Michael Hanson in a note to clients. "However, with the shutdown approaching its one-week anniversary and with both sides digging in their heels, that assumption is looking increasingly untenable. Our forecast is quickly becoming a 'best-case scenario'."

The shutdown on the other hand is nothing compare to not raising the debt ceiling by October 17th. That would be perhaps the worst economic disasters in modern times.

Failure by the world’s largest borrower to pay its debt -- unprecedented in modern history -- will devastate stock markets from Brazil to Zurich, halt a $5 trillion lending mechanism for investors who rely on Treasuries, blow up borrowing costs for billions of people and companies, ravage the dollar and throw the U.S. and world economies into a recession that probably would become a depression. Among the dozens of money managers, economists, bankers, traders and former government officials interviewed for this story, few view a U.S. default as anything but a financial apocalypse. 

Lehman had only had $517 billion in debt. The Treasury market is $12 trillion and is collateral in millions of transactions all over the world. This is what happened when Lehman died:

The U.S. stock market lost almost half its value in the five months following Lehman’s failure. The country had its worst recession since the Great Depression (INDU), taking the global economy down with it. Unemployment (USURTOT) surged to 10 percent, the highest in three decades.  

So it would be like 23 Lehman Brothers all died at once if we defaulted on our debt. This is all because some people from safe districts think they can run the entire House in order to stop a law that has already rolled out. Even if Congress passed an "Obamacare 100% de-funded bill" Obama would veto it and there is no way that veto would be overturned.

So the Tea Party is playing with economic catastrophe and the market losing half of its value for pretty much no reason. Their demands cannot be met and the market inches closer and closer to a steep sell-off as we get closer to Oct. 17th.

What would move that steep sell-off closer than Oct. 17th would be if China or Japan to lose confidence in Treasuries and start dumping them on the world market. That would shoot interest rates higher and hurt everyone that needs debt for any reason. Everyone from the guy trying to pay off a variable rate mortgage to a businessman trying to finance a new building will get smacked.

I just can't stand a party that would not blink if the entire US economy collapsed and took the world markets with it if they did not act. I don't know how bad Obamacare would be but the depression that would come out of the debt default would be far, far worse.

So that means that the Tea Party wants America to actively fail. They want to see everyone's portfolios cut in half and what is left of the recovery turn sour. If that is the case I think the Chamber of Commerce and any business groups that are left after the Default Apocalypse need to run their own pro-economy candidates against Tea Partiers. Put some pragmatists that can compromise into office in 2014.

Friday, October 04, 2013

The Red Napoleon (What a cool Nickname) Vo Nguyen Giap Dies at 102

One of America's great enemies from the 60s and 70s died of old age today.

The so-called "red Napoleon" stood out as the leader of a ragtag army of guerrillas who wore sandals made of car tires and lugged their artillery piece by piece over mountains to encircle and crush the French army at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. The unlikely victory, which is still studied at military schools, led not only to Vietnam's independence but hastened the collapse of colonialism across Indochina and beyond.

Giap went on to defeat the U.S.-backed South Vietnam government in April 1975, reuniting a country that had been split into communist and noncommunist states. He regularly accepted heavy combat losses to achieve his goals.

A lasting legacy of his is in 1995 he was instrumental in repairing ties with the US and now Vietnam is a close trading partner and is a bulwark against Red China. What a difference 30+ years make.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

The Takeaway: Don't Eat Fruits and Vegetables During the Shutdown

For whatever reason it seems that the FDA has been deemed non-essential.

Now comes this: the federal government shutdown has deemed most of the FDA, which handles about 80% of food inspections, as “non-essential.”

“That means there are about 500 food facilities a week that are not being inspected by the FDA and those are all potential threats to the U.S. food supply,” says Alan Bjerga, an agricultural policy reporter for Bloomberg News.

Meat product inspection will remain funded and running, but fruit and vegetable inspection will fall by the wayside. The FDA had 37 recalls of fruit and vegetables in 2011, up from two in 2005.

Yeah some of the worst food poisoning outbreaks were from vegetables in the past few years. For instance Cyclospora was found in bagged lettuce that sicked like 400 people this past summer. So if the FDA is short-staffed then maybe it wouldn't be a good idea to eat bagged lettuce until after the government gets back to work.

Lew Bonds? Trillion Dollar Platinum Coins? Ways to Bypass the Debt Limit

I would love to get my hands on some Lew Bonds.

The idea, as detailed by Bloomberg View columnist Matt Levine, is that Treasury could offer, say, a 20%-coupon bond that would sell at far above par value, giving the government a financial cushion and avoiding technical default until Congress raises the debt limit. Some Twitter commentators have rallied to the cause, even suggesting they be called “Lew Bonds” for Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

So the principal amount of the bond would only be counted against the debt limit so these bonds would be technically okay to issue. The idea of buying a bond that pays a 20% coupon rate would be outstanding and that auction will have tons of oversubscribers.What they should do is only allow people with incomes under $100,000 a year to buy these bonds. It would be great for savers (and anyone else) to get a 20% coupon rate on Treasuries. That would be something to triple mortgage the house to buy. A 20% guaranteed rate would beat real estate, stocks, REITs, almost anything. Talk about a middle class giveaway. The other trick would be this one:

Several months ago an improbable amount of momentum built behind the notion that the Treasury mint a platinum coin with a $1 trillion face value, deposit it with the Federal Reserve and draw on that to cover deficit spending. The idea arose from an obscure and ambiguous law apparently intended to allow the Treasury to meet demand for physical coins from collectors and savers. The Obama administration in January went so far as to publicly rule out the prospect in January before a debt-limit deal was ultimately reached in Congress.

Yeah they would just march the coin around whenever the debt limit is reached. Sounds like the basis for a heist movie starring Mark Wahlberg and the Rock were they steal the trillion dollar coin and hijinks ensue. 

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Law from 1870 (Antideficiency Act) Forbids Executive Branch Members from Checking Their Email or Face Prison? What?

This has got to be farce of the most rank kind.

Administration officials now live in fear of a 19th-century law that could get them fired, penalized or even imprisoned if they make the wrong choices while the government is shut down. 

CNBC has learned that in several executive branch departments, high-level staff members review individual decisions about what government activities to allow for fear of running afoul of the Antideficiency Act. One White House official said he has advised his employees not to check their email or cellphones. Under the act, even volunteering for government service is expressly prohibited.

So we have the entire executive branch afraid to check their government issued iPhones and their government issued email accounts because of a law passed during the Grant Administration? Maybe the GOP can get Obama impeached after all if they catch him sending a Tweet from an Oval Office computer. I guess it would be a high crime and misdemeanor to access social media on a government phone. Our government is such a joke.

Massive Group of WWII Vets Storm WWII Memorial Defying Shutdown

It seems some barriers and gates will not deter these them from seeing their memorial.

A massive group of World War II veterans arrived in D.C. today to an ill-timed government shutdown expecting to still be let in to tour their memorial.

People on the scene reported that the vets "pushed down" gates surrounding the memorial. Further reports say that authorities gave in and opened the memorial, while the official word from park police was that they were "seeking guidance on how to respond."

What guidance do they have to seek? Get out of the way of a bunch of guys that fought the Nazi's and everything will be okay. Sounds good to me.