Thursday, September 9, 2010

American Monetary Institute - American Monetary Institute. Prescribe the US Treasury to control the issuance of fiat money, as opposed to the quasi-public quasi-Wall $treet Federal Reserve.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Bogus Accounting of US National Debt & Social Security

Random thought.

Have you ever heard those that want to slash the US New Deal-inspired Safety Net programs of Social Security, Medicaire, Medicaid? Such as Pete Peterson, David M Walker, etc?

They throw out some huge number such as the "real national debt" is 60 Trillion if you "count unfunded liabilities such as SSN, Medicare, Medicaid".

First of SSN IS funded & taking in more $ than it spends until 2040 or so. Even after that, the "problem" by several ways. One obvious way is eliminate the tax cap. Currently Joe UpperMiddleClass that makes $107K pays the same SSN tax as Bill Gates, since the tax is capped at the first $107K in income. Without the cap Gates would be paying ~10,000X as Joe UMC.

As Dr Dean Baker has pointed out, Medicare & Medicaid, although still much cheaper in admin costs than private health insurance, are too expensive because of US health care cartel interests, that get paid excessively compared to any other rich world country.

But put that aside for a second.

Why do the Pete Peterson types never talk about the Trillions in costs for the Net Present Value of all funding for the
Military Industrial Complex
Corporate Welfare
Wall $treet Welfare
Overly broad Patent system which often creates cartel industries & stifles innovation

It's like the NPV of all future spending which might help Average Joe, eg SSN, Medicare, Medicaid; must be funded & accounted for NOW.

But Cartel/Rich Welfare programs that benefit at most the richest 2% & in many cases 0.1% or 0.01% of Americans? No they must not be accounted for NEVER.

Am I missing something obvious? Or am I correct? You tell me.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

DG rec links

This homie DG reads up on alternative media & conspiracy-related sites.

Here's a list he recommended.

Tim Geithner incompetent work history

economist Simon Johnson article details Treasury Sec. Tim Geithner's incompetent work history. As of now, it appears Geithner is trying to block the possibility of consumer advocate/lawyer Elizabeth Warren to be the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency head, an organization that was Warren's idea! Johnson notes Geithner's blocking of Warren might be his "9th life" & for once Geithner's incompetence may hurt Geithner's career.

S Johnson's blog Baseline Scenario is bookmarkable.

Michael J Smith "The Ratchet Effect" of US bipartisan rightwing trend

Michael J Smith essay that claims that since 1968, the Fed Democrats function is to maintain the political spectrum position, whereas the Republicans always move it rightwards.

This is similar notion to Cenk Uyger's opinion that Obama is more conservative than Reagan.

Apparently Smith's essay is a chapter from a book he hosts on his site, as well as blog articles.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

case for GDP-weighted equities

interesting article on weighting equities by a country's GDP, as opposed to a country's free float market cap.

teachers getting laid off for lack of $23B

Jane Hamsher firedoglake article

Teachers about to get their jobs murked, for lack of $23B

My take not covered in this good article. AFAICT to raise the 23B no politrickians talking about cutting military, which is more than the rest of world combined when the US is only 25% world economy. How bout cutting medicare/aid physician pay to raise $23B, when US physicians are making 1.5X-3.0X pay of physicians in any other rich country like Canada, UK, Japan?

Military & physicians pwn DC politrickians. Teachers have a medium strength union, not on those other levels. It's more important to military & physicians to get unreasonably high funding, than for there even to be enough teachers to do the job. I guess the teachers at least have medium strong union, more than the no union-having engineer/scientists that keep getting H1B'd & offshore outsourced like a mofo.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rewards Checking

I stumbled upon this notion of Rewards Checking. Basically Rewards Checking type of checking account requires a customer to do the following each monthly banking cycle (which could be the calendar month, or some random dates like Feb 22 - Mar 21, for example):
1 do X amount of debit card transactions
2 possibly (depends on bank) do an additional action, such as a work pay direct deposit, or an automated monthly ACH-type payment

I'm a newbie to this Rewards Checking idea which I stumbled upon, but apparently for the last few years it has been superior as a short term savings method, in terms of APY & flexibility, when compared to money market acct, savings accts, CD, even Treasury's I Bonds CPI inflation-adjusted flavor of Savings Bonds (!).

mymoneyblog confirms that Rewards Checking is current best choice for short term savings

Another nice feature of Rewards Checking, is that they seem to be offered by small community banks & credit unions; not the 2 Big 2 Fail cartel mega-banks. Always dece to help a small fry out instead of a cartel bent on destroying the US economy, bonus!

Deposit Accounts , written by Ken - Bank Deals Guy. that follows what happens on Rewards Checking, thorough in depth nerd-style, as if it were a sportswriter reporting on the Vikings. You can look up by state, filtered by APY interest rate. There's many interesting & educational articles here; I think it will be a good ROI of your time to spend ~2 hrs reading articles here.

example weekly update article, which highlights changes in Rewards Checking rates from banks & credit unions, as well as the best current CD & Savings Acct rates (which are currently pwned by Rewards Checking).

article on how Rewards Checking even exists & is profitable.
1 the bank is giving you their portion of the ~1.75% fee a retailer like Kohl's or Progressive Insurance (Eg you buy $100 at Kohl's, Kohl's is giving Visa ~$1.75), etc, pays the debit/credit card company like Visa, who then share's it with the bank, who shares it with you.
2 banks use Rewards Checking as a "loss leader", get a happy new customer who then later on they might sell more profitable products like a car loan.

article on Debit Cards, Credit Cards, & Rewards Checking. Note that there are different type of debit card transactions
PIN - enter PIN
debit - enter PIN or signature
credit - signature
pay by phone (example, car insurance payment). Not sure what this counts as?
A particular count may count only some, or all, of these transactions towards the monthly requirement. My take is that if one gets a Rewards Checking account, 1 should try 1 of all types of transactions, then call bank Customer Service, & ask how many & which transactions have counted.

article listing 4 banks with avail to all USian residents, with 4.0% yield, with at least 25K max limits that get 4.0% yield.

Clark Howard article on Rewards Checking. Howard's co-sign on the notion is great; Howard seems knowledgeable & strongly pro-consumer ("I want you to save more, spend less, & avoid getting ripped off")

Some (probably inferior) alternatives to depositaccounts (Ken claimed that some of these sites only list vendors that pay the site a listing fee, so good vendors might be omitted)

Hit up comments with any info/experience you may have had wrt Rewards Checking.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Steven Hill "Europe's Promise"

Thom Hartmann interview of author Steven Hill of book "Europe's Promise" book site, article list.

claiming Europe (Germany, Scandinavia) economic approach is best, superior to the USian approach. For example, in Germany, a company's workers pick many of the board of directors.

Euro currency & bonds attacked by hedge funds

Interesting take by Webster Tarpley, I heard on Thom Hartmann link, article.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Permanent Portfolio

The Harry Browne Permanent Portfolio (HBPP) is an investment asset allocation, which allocates 25% in 4 distinct non-correlated assets:

stocks - for prosperity
bonds - for deflation
cash - for recession
gold - for inflation

The Browne notion is that is impossible to predict/guess financial market events with any consistent skill, so it's better to have non-correlated assets that perform well as a total portfolio. Eg in the 1970s when stocks & bonds both declined, gold went up.

Supposedly since 1970s this portfolio has performed similar to an 100% stock portfolio, with the worst year being down ~15%, while stocks have been down ~50% at times.

mymoneyblog review

craigr's Crawling Road blog & discussion forum - many knowledgable gurus on here, veteran HBPP personal investors

UKer Clive/JF from crawlingroad forum site. Clive advocates for currency diversification, to hedge against domestic currency collapse. This is contra US "convential wisdom" that USD is somehow forever safe, & anything international is riskier, stupidly conflating stable rich countries like Canada or Germany or Japan (which might be safer than the US, at least for some years) with unstable countries like Argentina or Pakistan. This is also contra Harry Browne's own thoughts, of having 75% of the PP in USD-priced assets & 25% in gold.

US economic problems such as a trade deficit, budget deficit, unwillingness to cut profligate cartels such as the Military Industrial Complex. Also, many key assets such as oil & derivates being priced mostly in USD. Maybe in the future only 50% of oil will be priced in USD. Either of these issues could make it hard for the USD to get much stronger, with much risk of it getting weaker.

It seems that diversifying among global currencies would be "safer" than holding assets exclusively against any 1 currency.

Belgian Marc De Mesel, who like Clive shows (an extreme) example of domestic currency risk, with the 2008 Iceland PP

Boglehead's HBPP forum page

8 Lazy ETF portfolio reviews, which includes HBPP

Get Rich Slowly review


Great personal finance site mymoneyblog

fwd - I stumbled upon this free personal finance blog. Excellent free advice on IRA retirement accounts & other personal financial matters. The blogger is like a Consumer Reports, stays up on the rates/deals/hidden fees for the "custodian" IRA vendors like Vanguard, Schwab, Zecco, etc. Vanguard seems like a good deal as far as minimizing index fund Expense Ratios & having stable fees, without bogus hidden fees.

Amazing this is this guy is a 30 yo hobbyist, his real job is IT. I guess he loves to say follow money market & home loan rates, instead of a typical guy's hobby like say playing NFL fantasy football. My guess is that this hobbyist's free advice is probably superior than most personal financial planner "professionals"!

Finance quote & info sites

USian finance info sites for financial quotes/data, especially for assets with a ticker: ETFs, funds, individual stocks.

Google Finance - good graph feature, can quickly modify the time scale of the graph from intraday to multiple years. Would be nice if they included dividend-included returns

Morningstar - The Morningstar X-Ray is useful feature for slicing a portfolio (especially an broad index based portfolio) into asset allocation components - cash, bonds, US stock, non-US stock, other, not classified. It calculates weighted avg expense ratio. Especially equity stock components, which are broken down by geo regions like N America, Japan; industrial sector, stock type, & a 3X3 box for Valuation (Value/Core/Growth) X Size (Large/Medium/Small). For bonds & cash as a total group, it has a 3X3 box for Interest Sensitivity (Short, Intermediate, Long) X Credit Quality (High/Medium/Low).

Seeking Alpha - note has avg bid ask spreads & expense ratios clearly listed

Yahoo Finance - good for historical prices & dividends

D-Traxs funk music site

1970s & 80s funk music D-Traxs.

Monday, March 22, 2010

HC Bill elimination of pre-existing condition: True or Bogus?

One of the supposed great benefits of this health care bill, HR #4872, is that starting in 2014, pre-existing conditions & rescission will be made illegal.

However, there is some articles claiming these customer protections are bogus, insofar as a health care insurer could still do rescission existing customers or deny existing customer for pre-existing conditions because

1 No strong enforcement - firedoglake

My sense is that without strong regulation, a sick broke consumer will not get justice, fighting a health ins co & its army of lawyers.


2 Weak fine on health ins co, will be viewed as "cost of doing business"

This article claims Michael Moore claims the ins co fine is $100/day.  So for costly treatments, such as cancer, an ins co could just say wait 1 year for the patient to day, & pay the $36.5K fine, as opposed to the $50K or $200K or whatever cost of actual health care treatment.

There was another article (don't recall source) claiming this fine was a flat $5K.

I've not been able to figure this out.  I searched online.  I called my House Rep, & Public Citizen.  In each case the operator transferred me to the relevant "expert", which went directly to voicemail.

Do any of you know?  If so could you indicate whether

1 the illegalizing of pre-existing conditions & rescissions is true or bogus?

2 Point to the specific page nbr(s) of the bill with the relevant evidence, along with a url link to said bill

Pls drop knowledge in the comments.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

8 Switch

saw this funk cover band 8 Switch yesterday.

Dope show.  Remind me of Orange Whip, insofar as they play long 2-3 hours & bring great energy, have 1 lead female, physically small, singer with huge strong voice; & a bunch of dudes.  8 Switch's focus is 70s funk like Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind & Fire.  Also similar to OW, 8S did maybe 15% hip hop songs also, Notorious BIG's "Big Poppa" & Young MC "Bust a Move".  I see 8S site says they also have 1 self-titled album for sale with their original funk songs.

8 Switch advantage might be that the instrumentalists "go in" more on solos, & they have horn instrumentalists.  OW's advantage is that they cover more ground, 70s - 10s pop, broadly, from ZZ Top to Dr Dre/Snoop Dogg to Billy Joel to Duran Duran (song list).  So with OW prolly any of your homies will enjoy something they play, whereas 8S folks would have to not dislike funk music.  But for me they're both great, you can't go wrong with either.

BJ Services Company

Looking through the list of companies in global stock index, VT, Vanguard Total World Stock ETF which tracks the FTSE All-World Index.  BTW, this is a great idea, it covers ~2700 comapnies in 46 countries, developed & emerging in every populated continent.  Basically it only excludes tiny & non-tiny "frontier" or other risky countries that don't have "mature" stock markets.

Anyways,I randomly noticed there's a US oil services company in the VT index called BJ Services Company, stock ticker BJS .  LOLz!  I'm surprised some type of vulture capitalist like Govenor Bittsch Romney , private equity firm, etc, doesn't

1 buy 50% of the company to get "controlling interest" to run thangs

2 split off the oil biz with a separate company name/stock ticker

3 relocate to Vegas or some other place where prostitution is decriminalized or legal.

4 Actually provide "bj services"

Doing so would surely increase the P/E ratio.  Price to earnings, get ur mind outta the gutter!  Altho it would surely increase the penis ejaculations ratio also.  [||]

Saturday, March 13, 2010

G Greenwald article - Dems are fronting on Public Option

Glenn Greenwald breaks it down as u-sual.

This is really disappointing.  Supposedly Adam Green/Progressive Change Campaign Comittee has 41 Senators who signed paperwork claiming to vote for a Public Option.  Huffington Post Ryan Grim article claims Obama could pressure 12 additional Dem Sens to get 53 votes, based off of these Sens' prior statements wrt Public Option, & would only need 9 of these 12 to get to 50 Sens & win the vote (VP Joe The Biden is a tiebreaker when Senate ties 50-50).

So Obama COULD get the Public Option if he actually WANTED it?  Obama is 2X worse than Liebermann.

You know how Dems usually clown closeted gay ReThugs like Larry Craig?  The rationale, which I agree with, is the Hypocrisy Rule.  Craig, Mark Foley, Rev Ted Haggard, etc are hardcore anti-equal rights for gays, when they themselves are gheys.

To be fair, I think it's way past time to apply the Hypocrisy Rule on fake-ass Cartel Corporatist Whore Dems like Obama & Liebermann.  ReThugs don't front that they are for the average Jane.  ReThugs clearly state themselves Big Cartel Corporate Whores, no ReThug hypocrisy here.  But Cartel Dems like Obama pretend & campaign for the economic issues of the Average Jane & Joe voter, when really they continually defecate on Avg Jane & sellout in backroom non-Cspan'd televised deals with Wall Street, Pharma, Heath Ins, etc.  I call Hypocrisy, I call BS.

The sad thing is that real Progressive leadership ala FD Roosevelt or or TD Roosevelt or LB Johnson looks unlikely until Jan 2017 at the EARLIEST, assuming Obama isn't gonna magically turn Progressive, nor is it likely Obama could be primary challenged in 2012.  So it's either Obama, Romney, or another even worse ReThug as Pres until 2017.  The country has excessive multiple problems to wait until 2017 for adult & Progressive Fed Gov governance to fix this mess.  W T F.  Perhaps I should holler at a girl with Canada or EU citizenship?  Only half-kidding.

Friday, March 12, 2010

how-to: m3u file with relative path

I figured out how to create an m3u file for a Playlist/tracklist, which is a simple text file, that by using relative file paths, works for both

1 playing mp3 files on my PC

2 playing mp3 files on my Sansa Sandisk Clip mp3 player, by merely copying/pasting the m3u & the relative album/folders of tracks the m3u references.  NOTE - you must pick "MSC" in Settings>USB Mode. The other modes: "Auto Detect", or "MTP" mode will not work. 

Note, I've tested this using "standard English" characters 0-9 & A-Z.  This happens to work for me, given the nature of the mp3 files I have.  You might find a bug if you have "non-English" characters, such as the Spanish ñ, or even worse the Asian language "Unicode" type characters.  Personally I just rename the tracks with Non-English characters, aka I "anglicize" it, eg I retitle"Nariño" to "Narino".

Here's an example m3u file, which happens to be an Artist playlist of Dilated Peoples m3u .  Either download that link, or just copy/paste this text in between the ---- in a blank text file & save that file as .m3u:


D\Dilated Peoples 2000 The Platform\03 No Retreat.mp3
D\Dilated Peoples 2006 20-20\03 You Can't Hide You Can't Run.mp3
D\Dilated Peoples 2000 The Platform\14 The Shape Of Things To Come.mp3
D\Dilated Peoples 2001 Expansion Team\11 Pay Attention.mp3
D\Dilated Peoples 2004 Neighborhood Watch\01 Marathon.mp3


You can use this as a template, just keep/reuse the 1st line "#EXTM3U  " & the final blank line.  Delete off the middle lines that reference Dilated tracks; replace these with similar lines referencing your tracks.  Note that your tracks do not need to be in subfolders.  If your tracks are in the same top folder which contains your m3u, you would just refer to the track itself.  Eg you would just reference "03 No Retreat.mp3" instead of "D\Dilated Peoples 2000 The Platform\03 No Retreat.mp3".  I do recall reading there is an upper limit of 200 or so characters.  For me, this is not a problem.  If you have a ridiculously large number of nested folders, or a long track name, you might need to shorten it to ensure you don't hit this character limit.

BTW big ups to Sansa for making such a great functionality.  My Creative Technologies 60 GB player does not have this functionality; 1 must manually define Playlists in their proprietary app.  I've never owned an Apple mp3, but I heard one must do a similarly define their playlist in iTunes.

If u try this out, pls comment on how it works for you, or if you have questions.  Hope this helps.