December 27th, 2006

yellow_elephant

Fiscal Fears.....

Somewhere, back in the Dark Days, I noted that I had been offered this SCARY THOUGHT of an 'all in' from one of my happy credit card vendors - that I could take all of my line of credit out - at 0% APR - and I thought they were STONED. ( cf Young Republicans In Love... )

Well that year of amusement has come and gone, and so I will be paying that "debt" off completely come the next year.... But let us put some numbers into the Generic Mold to show the basic idea in play, and then address the BIG FEAR!!!!
  • Round Figure at $20K
  • Money Market Return 5% APY
  • Earn abbout $1k in money market fund
  • Average pay down $400 per month, debt down some $4.8K
  • Ballon Payment of $15.2K at end game.
It is a rough way to leverage a simple $1k "free Money" - But there is also going to be that $5.8K in the account at games end, the $4.8K that one one did NOT have to pay back, because of the Monthly Payments, and the $1k of 'interest'.

The other variation on this game is the one I am seeing more these days, 0% APR On Purchases, which again requires a bit of fiscal discipline. In this game, one knows that one is going to spend a given amount of money on various things - Food, Gas, Books, Nuclear Weapons, Special Aluminum Foil Hats for Controlling the Iranian Flying Saucers - so why not put those generic expenses onto the 0% Card - and pay the
Minimum off each month.

The Discipline Part is that one BANKS the money that would otherwise have been spent. Thus IF one would have spent say $600 a month on Food, Fuel And Fancies - and one pays say the $20 Minimum on the outstanding debt, then one MUST put at least $580 away in the bank - preferably in one's Money Market Fund, where one will be getting that nice 5% APY.

The challenge of course is to stay on the Straight And Narrow - and not buy anything EXTRA that was not already budgetted for... And when the Bill Comes Due, at the end of the Cycle, one pays it off completely!!!!! In this way one has earned the marginal interest rate on the funds saved, and has spent no additional sums on the purchases by way of Interest Payment...

In both of these games the Consumer, if playing a prudent hand, would of course get the "free intererst" that was being handed to them.... One of my friends was thinking about the 27% his $35K credit card would charge him to take a Cash Advance - and rightly resolved that would be a NUTTY IDEA!!!! and he is correct!!! Since there is an UGLY in the 'interest gag' that is anything above ZERO since in many cases, they will start the whole "revolving credit game" - in which IF one has any outstanding purchases when the bill comes due, one will still not be 'out of debt' and back into the 'grace period' - since the "Payment In Full" will be applied to the current FULL BILL, rather than merely the monthly due portion, and as such, one will still go on paying the installment gambit...

I will attack the Installment Gambit at another time.

What WORRIES ME in all of this is that it was SOOOOOOO Scary a fiscal policy, A YEAR AGO, to concieve that there was a NEED to pump up the Money Supply In This Way - but of course, we were all watching the whole Houseing Bubble start to deal with it's excesses. That we are STILL pumping up the Volume on the Money Supply in this way seems to indicate that the Financial Markets are STILL not happy with the currernt Economic Policies of the Current Klique of Klintonesta in the White House and Congress, who have yet to sober up and deal with sound fiscal policy.

More and More of the Banking Firms have started to move their variations on the basic gag, but to places where they are willing to do the short term bet at 1.99% and their long term (for the life of the debt) at 4.98% - that is mostly kinda sorta moving in the general right direction.... Notice, if you will, that this is the right slope for interest rates. Unlike, say the Fed Rate relative to the Treasury Bills And Notes...

At which point we could get really UGLY HERE and say nasty things about 'and the commitment of the ideologs to the Moral Superiority Of The Market Place is What Again?????' but it is still not clear if such an attack on the Failed Fiscal Policy of The TreeHuggerInChief is still the Crime of TREASON for not supporting the special powers of a war president.... Or would it be merely Piling ON after the failed efforts to Find the Iraqi Star Gate that was the clear and compelling reason for so many american GI's to get Killed, Maimed, and Wounded so that we could restore the wetlands and all that jazz....

If a preponderance of Banking Firms are moving towards a More Realistic Model of Fiscal Policy, and away from the Bubble Queen Allen Greenspan's Failed Serial Bubbling, does this indicate that the economy is more likely to reallign to economic Realism in 2007??? Or that most of the same banking firms are still whistling past the grave yard, hoping that at the critical moment, the Great Leader will not flinch away from Nuclear Merchantilism to defend the American Dollar Hegomony....

Ah Yes, one really does have to wonder which way things are going...
yellow_elephant

More Reasons to bomb Canada!!! - ( The Florida Quandery )

Year after year Florida proves it's a weird state and 2006 was no different.

And that's beyond the headlines made by famous residents like Rush Limbaugh (arrested on a prescription drug charge) and O.J. Simpson (criticized for his supposedly hypothetical story of how he would have killed his ex-wife). The icon of the 2000 presidential recount - Katherine Harris - also got into unusual news: she left her U.S. House seat only to see the election to replace her end up in a recount.

Weird is just part of Florida, and strange stuff seemingly happens every day in just about any part of the state: an elderly woman fighting off an alligator, a drug dealer making his pitch to uniformed officers, a state senator convicted of a felony and then filing a bill to restore felons' voting rights.

[ cf 2006 was another strange year in Florida ]
Remind me again, please, what was so bad about that whole SF Values thing....

I mean READ the freaking story and ask yourself, Would YOU want those type of People to move into the neighborhood near you? your children? Your Pets!!! Your Shrubbery!!! It is Florida that brought us:
A bill that would automatically return voting rights to felons after they complete their sentences has been introduced by a Florida legislator who is still in office even though he is a convicted felon.

The bill introduced Thursday by state Sen. Gary Siplin would change the state's long-standing constitutional ban on felon voting. Now, a felon's rights can only be restored by the state's clemency board, which must hear each case in a process that can take months or years.

Florida is one of just three states - all in the South - that don't automatically restore voting rights after completion of a sentence, said Senate Minority Leader Steven Geller.

[ cf Convicted lawmaker wants felons to vote ]
ZOMGZ!!!!!

Clearly We MUST Bomb Canada Now, to protect our American Way of Life!!!!
yellow_elephant

Can Americans Afford To Abandon The Secret Government?

Republican rule on Capitol Hill drew to an exhausted end just before dawn on Dec. 9 after lawmakers dispatched a pile of bills that few had read and even fewer had helped write. Democrats say the era of such chaotic and secretive legislating came to a close as well.
[ cf With Promises of a Better-Run Congress, Democrats Take on Political Risks ]
But WHY, oh WHY!!!!! should congress stab our valiant fighting forces in the back!!!!

Clearly with the growth in the Secret Trials, for which Enemies Of The State can not challenge the right of the Government to Try Them, nor to challenge the vallidity of evidence presented that was obtained under torture, americans understand that Secrecy IS job One in our New and Improved New World Order!!!!

Clearly if Congress wants to contineu running legislative Agenda in Public, then The ENEMY WILL ALSO KNOW!!!

Very Few Americans Appreciate the Bold And Courageous Leadership of Great Leader who has yet to give even so much as a HINT as to why there may or may not be american troops in Iraq who are engaged in any actual military style Operations!!! And that CLEARLY keeps the Enemy Off Balance as they are never too sure IF there are actual american troops in Iraq!!!!! { Save of Course For all of that "aid and comfort to the enemy in a time of war" stuff that goes on in the Evil Liberal Media where they keep reporting that there may well be american troops in Iraq conducting Military Style Operations. }

So why should the Congress ABANDON the Commitment of Rule By Secrecy FOR Secrecy!!!

Where IS their Patriotism!!!
yellow_elephant

Institutionalizing the Secret Trials...

What DO you have to be Franz Kafka to Understand?
Although the Pentagon estimates that no more than 80 of the 400 or so terrorism detainees here will ever be tried, it is moving forward with plans for a $125-million legal complex.

Air Force Col. Morris Davis, chief prosecutor of the suspected Al Qaeda and Taliban supporters, says he expects to file charges against 10 to 20 prisoners soon after new trial rules are presented to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates next month.

[ cf Guantanamo needs courthouse, Pentagon says ]
There use to be a name for that....

Hum, when a government sends persons off to secret detention facilities without any rule of law engaged about the process, and then spends money to build up a Court House, so that the few cases for which there will be any form of Show Trial will get the full on Red Hollywood Treatment.

Ok, so:
Kabuki Theatre Does GitMo Law
could work as a basic back drop for the prime time series - comeplete with Hot Masculine Male Love as we Watch The Throbbing Love Interest Of Interersting Lovers Love the Love that can Only Be Loved In a Secret Detention Facility where by day they play act as if they are Really Butch Legal Types...

You know, Show them the Love, and all of that...

Oh well, thank god it is not like anyone is worried what Might Happen if the American Dollar Hegomony were to crack and the Nation were to land in recievership...
yellow_elephant

The Gerald Ford Crisis

Some Might argue that one should not Politicise the Funeral of a passing President. Some issues therein might have been defendable in a Failed Liberal Pre-911 Culture, before all knew the Greatness of Great Leader, but are these such days???

Can America Slink back to the Time BEFORE all things Changed, and keep on hoping that no one else will notice??? Would that even BE an american way to deal with the Fiasco that has beset the Nation, and that it has been out sourcing around the world, in it's efforts to Improve the Terror Back Home....

I of course look back on The Ford Daze, with a mixed set of emotions, since this was the first time we had allowed A President to Pardon anyone who had not yet actually been convicted of a Crime - a point that remains somewhat Problematic for those of us who still like the American Legal System - but there is a humanitarian argument that can be put forward that such was needed to allow the nation to heel from the dark days of the Nixon Era, and the sheer Hysteria of the WackJobs that the nation needed to be Forced, Kicking And Screaming into being a Military Police State so that we could win against the Enemy!!!

Back then of course, everyone was SERIOUSLY FRIGHTENED that at any moment the Vietnamese Flying Saucers Might Come Lurking Over the Horizon and America had been left defenseless, and alone, and in the dark, where we were abandoned, unloved, and uncared for, by a cruel and vicious world of Hedonistic Liberals who were all out Hopping And Bopping With Hippie Chicks, rather than Preparing to Stop the Brutal Onslaught Of Vietnamese Flying Saucers... Gosh, sorta like today, but back then the american troops had been allowed to escape from the Nation where the USofA had built the largest Embassy complex... Who knows, it is still possible that the American Troops can come home, if they can only learn to Vietnamize Iraq like Nixon had....

Ah yes, the Fun Filled And Exciting Seventies, why the very basis for "that seventies show", which, gosh, would never have been possible without the Wonder Years of The Ford Administration - never mind that the Evil Leftist Leaning Defeatists of the Republicans For Nixon Crew would whine out of the Kansas City Massacre, having failed to get the GOP Nod for their Ray Gunn, so the nation was forced to live under the Repressive Jack Boot of Jimmy Carter, whom the Vast Right Wing Religious Konspirakii Had Installed. Ah yes, if ONLY the RayGunnItes would have stayed loyal to the Party, rather than following all of that Billy Beer, we would have seen the Wonder of WIN ( Whip Inflation Now ) get the nation over the hump that was the economic falteral that comes when one has to do a Massive Devaluation of One's Currency because of an Unfunded war - that one was in South East Asia, unlike the Massively Unfunded War in South West Asia we are in today - which may at some point lead to thee same, gosh, economic realism, as with the reality of economics back in the Ford Days.

Yes, Yes, Yes.... I know that this borders on the Red Socialist Dogma that Facts are in the Public Domain and are not the Private Personal Property of the Great Leader!!! Which of course, is almost as bad as the whole HORROR of the evil liberal "Certified Pre-Owned Facts" that have been wandering around in the Grey Market of Ideas that panders to the typical Reality Based Community - but one does have to wonder, what ARE we really suppose to be learning from the Ford Years??? And the current Collection of Speach Utterance Behaviors by those who are hoping that no one really gets bogged down worrying about the Facts, since we arer Still Facing the Evil They Them Those Types, who are all out there, everywhere, trying to be evil and bad!!! And thus we must expand the imperial powers of the War President to protect us from the Mounting Threat of a Failure of Will to Nuke First and Ask Questions Later to Defend the Dollar Hegomony!!!

Ah yes, if Only the Karl Rove Armoured Flying Saucer Corp had been allowed to Openly win the Vietnam War, then none of this would be a problem, since the Great American Flying Sauccere Corps would have rampaged north through peping to Moscow, to make the world Safe for Dollar Hegomony!!!

Oh those wicked wicked losers who were just not willling to support the Biblical Slaying And Slewing that would have been a part of the whole restoration of our White Christian America from the dark and gloomy days of the evil doing evil doers who were so unamerican as to demand that we be a nation of Law and not of Persons!!!

Good Bye Gerald, you really did do more than Give us Chevey Chase...

For a while there, you allowed us to kick back and just be americans as americans, without all of the need for the slaying and slewing...
yellow_elephant

Surge? What Surge????

Wasn't the Surge to 135,000 plus troops suppose to be a temporary thing. You know, back when the Great Pro War Crowd was doing the disco duck end zone dance over mission accomplished....

So what would a Surge on a Surge be???
yellow_elephant

Under Aged Jezzebels For National Security!!!!

Upon reflection, I must Officially side against the Dark Evils of Anti-Americanism spewed by the Evil substitute in his recent rant WOTD: "Princesstute" since clearly, as the Evil Doing Evil Doers Are Evil! And Doing! And ERS!!!
The dollar may fall for a second consecutive day against the yen and euro before U.S. reports that are forecast to show consumer confidence dropped and existing home sales slowed.

Signs of weakening growth may boost speculation the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates next quarter, dimming the allure of dollar-denominated assets. The U.S. currency has dropped 9.7 percent this year versus the euro as investors bet the Fed will trail the European Central Bank in raising borrowing costs.
...
The U.A.E. is among oil exporters including Iran, Venezuela and Indonesia that are looking to shift their reserves into euros or price the commodity in the 12-nation currency.
...
The U.A.E. will switch 8 percent of its foreign-exchange reserves from dollars into euros before September, U.A.E. Central Bank Governor Sultan Bin Nasser al-Suwaidi said during a Dec. 24 interview in Abu Dhabi. The U.A.E. has started ``in a limited way'' to sell part of its dollar reserves, he said.

[ cf Dollar May Drop Versus Yen Before U.S. Consumer, Housing Data ]
Got Dollars???

So maybe the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT RESERVE OF VALUE IN THE WORLD!!!
Pre-Teen Hussies with Talent!!!
which may well be all that most nice upper middle class types have left when they are Renting those Armed Forces to protect themselves from the Inevitable Onslaught that will Always come about when the Evil Doing Evil Doers Do Evil!!!

( there is a lovely PDF PsychoHorror here that attempts to Pimp the "freedom in Peril" mythos, but forgets that there are some deeper issues it is Ducking!!! )

All of which helps all TRUE Patriotically Corrector Than Thou Type remember that when the Angels of the Lord came unto Soddom and Gommorah Lot was willing to Give Up his Unmarried daughters to the crowd!!! So now more than ever Folks NEED to be willing to take their Biblically Literalists Approach To Keeping America American And Safe From The Bad People!!!! So turn your under aged Jessebel into a painted Faced Trollip, you know, For Reasons Of National Security!!!
yellow_elephant

Got Product Branding....

I must confess a deep respect for the Grand Irony of aramis307 for his question:
I'm wondering why the icon for Black America is not Chris Gardner.
( cited blog entry )
since it so gracefully avoids a whole Horror of questions - like what sort of Product Branding Kultur do we really want to be living in, when people are out there Selling themselves as Products, rather than living as persons....

Hum....

I will defer for the time the grand comedy that we are still dealing with this Fragment the Nation Model that suggest that there should be one set of Icons for White America, and another set for the Others..... Since, gosh, that way could lead into even Deeper Concerns about who is More into Saving our White Christian America from the They Them Those People, than we need in a simple rant about the Horrors of a Nation that can no longer actually produce the goods and services that the world wants.

Don't get me wrong here, I can empathise with Chris Gardner - the central character in the hot new liberal feal good Flick, and wil smith vechile, Pursuit Of Happyness (2006) - since I came to this country with $65 in my pocket, an address of people from the old country, and everything I owned on my back.... So I understand what it means to make a go of it in America...

But does that really mean that america is about transitioning persons into mere Product Branding???

Or that such an approach to life is even Good???

Or the far scarier thought here - that america, having lost it's ability to make the goods and services that the world wants and/or needs - we REALLY need to learn the Dark Side of this Ugly idea - so that we are all about the Product Branding... That we are ready and willing to be totally financialized.... To be totally committed to the fun filled moments of
Oh, and it's a hollow feelin' when
It comes down to dealin' friends
It never ends

( citing Eagles: Tequilla Sunrise )
Hum....

Makes me wonder what it would be like for the White Folks to take up Gardner as an Icon....

Or have we already watched those enron/worldcom/WhichEver... and the still bloating fiscal fiasco as CitiBank can plea bargain it's way around to paying a fine, and not having to admit to any form of guilt for the criminal charges....

Oh dear - would Gardner BE THE ICON for our friends in the VOCHAS, who are all excited about someone else taking the bullet for them, so that they can stay safely in the Rear, with the Beer, and the pompous pretention of having been here to prevent the Sinister Satanic Nancy Pelosi Controlled Evil Demonic Voodoo Zombie Dust Bunnies Of Despair....

Hum....

What WOULD america really be like, if they had to actually create the goods and services the global market were willing to exchange goods and services for.... you know, when there is a chance for the usual free flow of information about an open market - without the Distortions of one nation being the Nuclear Power, and willing to drop troops on your door step if you opt out of Dollar Hegomony...

Ah yes, would it be 'all about the branding'.... and the second tier horror of Branding Persons, and not merely product....

What ever will life be like in such a brave new world...