Free Republic 2nd Quarter Fundraising Target: $88,000 Receipts & Pledges to-date: $55,724
63%  
Woo hoo!! And we're now over 63%!! Thank you all very much!!

Posts by CutePuppy

Brevity: Headers | « Text »
  • Secret space plane, solar sail and CubeSats launching Wednesday

    05/20/2015 1:54:36 AM PDT · 6 of 8
    CutePuppy to cripplecreek
    Not a new concept... James Bond and Willard Whyte in Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
  • Sources: U.S. Special Operations forces kill ISIS commander Abu Sayyaf in Syria raid

    05/17/2015 5:19:59 PM PDT · 81 of 83
    CutePuppy to McGruff
    His wife, an Iraqi named Umm Sayyaf, was captured and taken to Iraq...

    Obama got a "trophy wife"?

  • AP-GfK Poll: Many Approve Iran Deal; Most Don't Trust Tehran

    05/12/2015 8:10:17 PM PDT · 7 of 11
    CutePuppy to dfwgator; FlingWingFlyer; dp0622; TribalPrincess2U
    Actually, this poll is very encouraging, despite extremely misleading headline ("Many Approve...").

    It turns out that "Many" comprises only about 3 percent... that majority of Americans stand with Israel and not with Obama/Kerry on the issue (i.e., Netanyahu is winning the argument)... that Democrats are badly split on the issue and that almost 60% of them prefer Obama's and Iran's interests and not Israel's, while more than 70% of Republicans are standing with Israel... that Americans are finally taking more interest in the [diminishing and mostly incomprehensible] role of the U.S. in the world, and apparently do not like very much what they're seeing.

    Regarding only 16 percent "actually paying close attention to the complex Iran negotiations" — what is the point of trying to pay attention to Kerry's or Obama's pronouncements and/or ever-changing "conditions" that the agreement might entail? There is little coverage of them, and more importantly, we already know where Obama is going with it, and already know how the Senate and Congress are going to react, so "closely" following these two clowns' "negotiations" with Iran in the meantime is useless and liable to produce nothing but anguish and headaches.

    What this poll shows (and it's skewed toward higher Democratic participation, as usual) is that Obama / Kerry already lost the public on this and his "foreign policy" and losing more every week, and are taking a lot of Democrats with them, and no amount of lipstick is going to make this pig into Miss America.

  • AP-GfK Poll: Many Approve Iran Deal; Most Don't Trust Tehran

    05/12/2015 6:20:00 PM PDT · 1 of 11
    CutePuppy
    How the AP-GfK Poll on Iran Was Conducted:
      The AP-GfK Poll of 1,077 adults was conducted online April 23-27, using a sample drawn from GfK's probability-based KnowledgePanel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points. Respondents were first selected randomly using phone or mail survey methods, and later interviewed online. People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn't otherwise have access to the Internet were provided access at no cost to them.

    Obama's foreign "policy," if it can be called that — he is only looking at it as a search / venue for "legacy" — is getting less and less popular ever since "Obama got Osama" and various "resets," "red lines" and "springs" blew up in his face.

    He is now left trying to make a go of it with Cuba and Iran, and neither is the right "policy" nor should become popular, even with so-called "libertarians" who, with no explanation, frivolously and off-handedly make a claim that the other policies "didn't work."

  • Obama Endorses Removing Cuba From Terrorism List

    04/14/2015 3:52:15 PM PDT · 43 of 51
    CutePuppy to sappy; Truth29; EQAndyBuzz; JimSEA; stephenjohnbanker; MeshugeMikey; Iron Munro; All
    try to marginalize both cruz and rubio while doing what he does best. cozy up to criminals, murderers, America haters and despots

    I doubt that the timing of Cuba announcement or Iran deal by Comrade Barack Che Obama has anything to do with Cruz or Rubio, or any Republican presidential candidate.

    Che Obama is in a mad rush to do all these unpopular things NOW so this Carteresque "legacy" becomes fait accompli by the time presidential campaigns are in a full swing and it wouldn't affect the next Democratic candidate — and him/her having to defend or denounce the "policy" or its outcome — when it can be dismissed as "old news" and therefore, with the help of the media, unimportant and as such, "time to move on[.org]" to issues they want to emphasize.

  • 2016 politics: White House chooses its fights _ when it can [Republicans only react to him]

    03/12/2015 4:54:37 AM PDT · 6 of 6
    CutePuppy to Cincinatus' Wife
      Is there a more arrogant person on the planet?

      He's getting no push back from our "leaders" on the Hill - so he has a bounce in his step.

    It's his naked arrogance that makes him so much more transparent, and much less likable to the average person than he was aspiring to be in 2007 and 2008. When Bill Clinton was getting into trouble politically, he could count on his "I feel your pain" persona, to bail him out; Obama has no personal "out" when he gets into trouble, which is one reason why his poll numbers are not likely to rise and are likely to be a drag on Democrats in 2016... and they know it, yet have no choice but keep doubling down with him.

    He may have a bounce in his step but his arrogance makes him pick the wrong battles, on the wrong fields and at the wrong time, and he is risking to lose and is losing a large number of them (in courts and elections, and later on in executive authority), with substantial — but still "safe" for now — portion of Democrats in Congress abandoning him on key issues (like on Keystone votes).

    Display of arrogance could be a smart tactic, when it's a part of a wider overall strategy; in this case it's "organic" and is just a tactic without a strategy... except kicking the can as far down the road as possible, hoping to distract and run out the clock, and some Hail Mary passes, hoping for Republicans to make a mistake (which, knowing the GOP, they just might oblige).

    "Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win" - Jonathan Kozol

    "Don't fight a battle if you don't gain anything by winning" - Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.

    "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake" - Napoléon Bonaparte

    "True genius is knowing when to stop" - Johann von Goethe

  • Donna Shalala to head Clinton Foundation [long history with Hillary]

    03/08/2015 1:03:29 AM PST · 38 of 38
    CutePuppy to Captain7seas; Cincinatus' Wife
    If I remember correctly, back when Newt first was Speaker he held a press conf. on CSPAN where he advocated reading Alvin and Heidi Tofflers book which was about advancing the Third Way.

    You remember incorrectly. Alvin Toffler's book Third Wave (1980) was a sequel to Future Shock (1970), which later was followed by Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century (1990). However, in 2006, an updated theme of Third Wave was published in a much expanded book Revolutionary Wealth (2006), which I would highly recommend - particularly because many of the things described there as "the future" have already happened, and some are happening with lightening speed... whether we like it or not, it helps to know what to expect so we could either be ready for them, help advance some of them or lead the fight against some of them.

    Third Wave in Tofflers' terminology is the Information Age, contrasted with the Second Wave which was the Industrial Age, assigning the First Wave to the Agrarian Age **. It has nothing to do with the Third Way which is a euphemism for a fascist socialist tight public-private economic integration, which was promoted by the Clintons and Tony Blair, among others. ***

    --------

    ** Ref: Historical and Technological Timelines

    *** Michael Barone: Obama, Brown, and the 'Third Way' - The Left loses its way by abandoning the... - FR, posts #3, #9, 2010 May 03

    Goodbye Fannie and Freddie, Hello MCGE - FR, post #13, 2009 September 02

  • Donna Shalala to head Clinton Foundation [long history with Hillary]

    03/08/2015 12:58:26 AM PST · 36 of 38
    CutePuppy to Captain7seas; Cincinatus' Wife
    If I remember correctly, back when Newt first was Speaker he held a press conf. on CSPAN where he advocated reading Alvin and Heidi Tofflers book which was about advancing the Third Way.

    You remember incorrectly. Alvin Toffler's book Third Wave (1980) was a sequel to Future Shock (1970), which later was followed by Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century (1990). However, in 2006, an updated theme of Third Wave was published in a much expanded book Revolutionary Wealth (2006), which I would highly recommend - particularly because many of the things described there as "the future" have already happened, and some are happening with lightening speed... whether we like it or not, it helps to know what to expect so we could either be ready for them, help advance some of them or lead the fight against some of them.

    Third Wave in Tofflers' terminology is the Information Age, contrasted with the Second Wave which was the Industrial Age, assigning the First Wave to the **. It has nothing to do with the Third Way which is a euphemism for a fascist socialist tight public-private economic integration, which was promoted by the Clintons and Tony Blair, among others. ***

    --------

    ** Ref: Historical and Technological Timelines

    *** Michael Barone: Obama, Brown, and the 'Third Way' - The Left loses its way by abandoning the... - FR, posts #3, #9, 2010 May 03

    Goodbye Fannie and Freddie, Hello MCGE - FR, post #13, 2009 September 02

  • There's a new mortgage crisis brewing [Richard Bove]

    02/26/2015 2:15:46 PM PST · 21 of 25
    CutePuppy to 1010RD
      Luckily, government chose the winners and the losers and saved us from a “downward credit spiral”.

    During the crisis most of the losers and winners were easily identifiable (Bear Stearns, Washington Mutual vs JP Morgan; Countrywide Financial, Merrill Lynch vs Bank of America; Wachovia vs Wells Fargo etc.). Of course, government having another chunk of "extra" money to loan, could and — in the worst traditions of crony socialism — did disperse some of that money to their friends (which was well documented here on FR at the time), but using the natural government corruption to deny the need for TARP-like injection if liquidity to financial system so the consumers' and business deposit accounts can be backed and then trickled down to businesses and customers is ridiculous. The lenders of last resort did exactly what the lenders of the last resort were supposed to do, faced with the credit and liquidity crisis.

      1. Do downward credit spirals really happen?

    You betcha. Persistent depression / compression and deflation are two of the examples that basically self-perpetuate themself, aka the vicious cycle.

      2. If yes, are the caused or cured by government?

    Could be either. It depends on the government. For example, take Greece... (please!) People there just elected the government that told them what they wanted to hear (stop "austerity," restart higher government spending paid for by higher taxes on the rich and clamp-down on tax evasion / "cheaters," even though it's exacty what caused the current problems and is the wrong prescription for Greek economy. Germany, on the other hand, weathered the storm relatively unscathed and is the main engine of the EMU and EU economy.

  • There's a new mortgage crisis brewing [Richard Bove]

    02/26/2015 12:25:41 PM PST · 20 of 25
    CutePuppy to 1010RD
      The problem in RE is the overhang of too high mortgages in underperforming, over financed properties.

    The problem in RE is the same as it was before the financial/credit crisis : overregulation, same players forcing the same kind of rules that led to the crisis in the first place (many hands of federal and state governments trying to force lending to marginal or unqualified borrowers) while at the same time forcing same lenders keep much higher capital reserves (thereby reducing their lending capacity) and running "stress tests" and inspecting their MBS and other credit portfolios for "risk level" as well as reducing earning capabilities of such lenders by Frank-Dodd and CFPB regulations (e.g., against private trading and credit cards fees etc.) in already low-interest environment - in other words, there are now even more regulations of and penalties against financial/lending institutions and most of these are more draconian than were before the crisis, which also explains why there are fewer [smaller] banks than were before the crisis - the environment is simply not conducive to small lending. Even if it's "qualified" by one of the agencies today, doesn't stop them from suing and/or levying fines on the lender tomorrow ("been there, done that, lost their shirts"). Being sued or penalized for not originating the mortgage loan is a lot less likely and a lot less painful than for originating a "potentially questionable" mortgage loan, as the article clearly spelled out.

        Had government done nothing then:

      1. Housing prices would have fallen.

    ... as they did.

      2. Interest rates would have risen.

    ... as they did - Libor did sharply and credit froze (which is why it's been called a credit crisis, along with other names) until it became obvious that TARP allowed to net out (see one of the previous links for explanation of mechanism) most of the liabilities and/or backstop others for extensive period of time until it was no longer needed.

      3. Smart money would have snapped up real bargains.

    ... as they did, after it became obvious that credit crisis was [nearly] over and they no longer needed or required to hoard the money to cover any credit/debt, legal or regulatory liabilities - e.g., Buffet was asked to use his unrestricted cash to provide credit/investment to shore up the balance sheets and viability of some financial institutions on very favourable to him terms; backstops were also used to help temporarily finance transfers of deposit-bearing accounts at institutions/banks/brokerages that would overwhelm puny resources of FDIC and SIPC and would cause run on the banks on unprecedented scale, with government liabilities in trillions of dollars.

      4. States and municipalities would have been forced to fix pensions/budgets based on reduced property tax revenues.

    Forced? Not any more than they are now, Detroit and Chicago and Puerto Rico and few mostly Dem states, that we all know, being prime examples. They can always find a few more taxes to levy or cut "non-essential" programs and/or ask the state/federal government to bail them out to preserve as much union-backed defined-benefits plans, with as little haircut to themselves as possible (e.g., Risky Rates: Government pension funds take chances with their employees' money. - B (sub), by Thomas G. Donlan, 2013 September 09 -   names   "Los Angeles, Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Rochester, Providence, and many other cities — and some states, notably Illinois and California..."     and     State of the States - B (cover), by Andrew Bary, 2012 August 27, with the table of all states, with lowest and highest unfunded liabilities (JPG)).

      5. Market equilibrium would have been established years ago.

    ... as it has, save for bad old and new taxes, mandates and regulations, some of which were clearly described in the article.

      6. The economy would be hot, naturally hot.

    All because the deposit-bearing and credit institutions (banks, brokerages, money-market funds, ccredit unions etc.) and scores of non-financial businesses would fail (as they started to do as they no longer could obtain financing or credit or get any sort of liquidity from their assets, marked-to-market/marked-to-zero to meet payroll or accounts payable) resulting in Depression-era unemployment and additional government obligations while the Fed and the governnment looked blithely on? How about the bear raids and run on the banks that already started to happen (see Reserve Primary Money Market Fund "breaking the buck" and consequent run, though unseen by most because it was electronic and was met with immediate action by the Fed**)

    Exactly how would not providing temporary liquidity (i.e., TARP/TALF) to shore up financial institutions — which cut short the financial credit and liquidity crisis — would produce such wonderful, "naturally hot" economy? Based on what parameters or history***? What is "natural" about US government's tax, spending and regulatory policies?

    Why are fiscal and regulatory policies which have the primary role in economy ignored or never mentioned in these discussions of economy's problems? Would we have fewer programs (stimuli, cash-for-clunkers, Obamacare, "infrastructure" etc., etc.) regulations, taxes or more if we had the Depression-era financial, housing and unemployment situations? Anybody seriously think that whatever feeble recovery is now (thanks to the Fed's low interst rates and QEs temporarily and partially absorbing piiles of new government debt) it would be allowed to grow "naturally" and would become "hot" despite all the socialist policies of Obama administration and Democratic/split Congress as well as half the industrial world still being in recession or near it and in disinflation, with other countries governments and their central banks playing "competitive currency devaluation" games, and most of the countries' populations having lost and still losing equity and real purchasing power compared to 2008?

    The fixation on the Fed and monetary policy as the end-all and be-all of the economy, while ignoring the fiscal and regulatory policies, is only playing to Obama's and Dems' hands - they will take credit for anything that's good (like recently saying "You're welcome", taking credit for lower gasoline prices that he worked so hard to increase) and implicitly or explicitly blaming the Fed for subpar employment growth or anything else, no doubt being joined by the chorus of "Paulist" conservatives and libertarians who made their careers using attacks on the Fed as their stepping stones in politics.

    Here's a simple example: European Union's (EU) "eurozone" (EMU) has the Europran Central Bank (ECB) and single currency - euro. All eurozone countries' economies should therefore be similar, right? How do you explain Germany and Greece or Spain? Same currency and same interest rates, entirely different governments' fiscal policies and respectively, their economies (think Texas and New Jersey or Illinois - same Fed's monetary policy, same QE, same TARP, same interest rates, different taxes, different regulations, different deficits, different economies etc.) See The State of Greek Business - FR, post #44, 2012 February 08,   and   The great euro Putsch rolls on as two democracies fall - FR, post #29, 2011 November 13

      7. Liberty would have grown.

    Exactly how would liberty have grown in the Depression-era environment, where even more people would depend on the government money and services? Did liberty grow under Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his policies? How would it grow under Obama who would use it to create evem more socialist programs and regulations than he was able to do using "the worst economy since the Depression" to push his agenda? More likely he would nationalize or come close to it, the banking system and some other "essential to financial security" industries, just like he did, or attempted to, with insurance, student loans and so on.

      Thanks to the DC Uniparty none of the above happened, but the stock market is booming.

    What's wrong with the stock market booming, if it's based on real profits? As long as we point out the real reasons for it and don't give credit where it is not due, we should be OK. Of course, GOP is notoriously bad at that, except couple of times in the 80s and 90's, thanks to few individuals who knew how to do it.

    ----------------

    ** Defusing A $5.5T Run On The Banks - FR / NYP, by CP, posts #1, #12, #24, #25, #32, #36, #38, 2009 February 15

    Father of money market funds charged with fraud - FR, posts #10, #11, 2009 May 05

    TARP repayments of $194 billion exceed outstanding balance of $190 billion - FR, posts #7, #14, #18, #34!, #35, #41!, #42!, #44!, #46, 2010 June 12

    Taxpayers Face Heavy Losses on Auto Bailout | Sleep-At-Night-Money Lost in Lehman Lesson Missing $63 Billion - FR, post #25, 2009 September 09

    *** When One Man Was the Central Bank | Rand Paul Draws Liberal Fire As The Left Discovers Its Inner Love Of The Fed - FR, post #16, 2015 February 25

  • Rand Paul Draws Liberal Fire As The Left Discovers Its Inner Love Of The Fed

    02/25/2015 1:43:57 AM PST · 16 of 21
    CutePuppy to entropy12; Pelham; All
    It is simply a report.

    Today was one of these simple reports. If the Audit is "simply a report" then it's pretty meaningless and both Pauls, Ron and Rand, have been fraudulently overselling the importance of the Audit as the game-changer that would put the screws on the Fed. And the Audit would not have as many people thinking that it is a bad idea, instead of just another bureaucratic waste of time, for which Congress is infamous. Obviously, it's not "simply a report" and enough (though not quite enough) Republicans understand this:

    From Janet Yellen's Advice to Rand Paul -BLV, 2015 February 24

      < snip > ..... The Fed is already "extensively audited," she said, and Senator Rand Paul's bill to audit it even more "would politicize monetary policy." ..... < snip >

      ..... Undermining the central bank's political independence would ultimately harm the economy. Studies show that independent central bankers are better stewards of their economies than are politically appointed finance chiefs. The reason is simple: Politicians often favor easy-money policies that promote short-term growth and boost their re-election chances, even if they bring on inflation later. ..... < snip >

      ..... She might start with Paul, who appears to suffer from both misunderstandings (confusing assets for liabilities on the Fed's balance sheet) and misapprehensions (worrying about inflation, which has undershot the Fed's 2 percent target for three years now) about the Fed's role. Sadly, he is not alone: His bill, which will be the subject of a Senate Banking Committee hearing next week, has 30 co-sponsors, and a version of it has already been adopted by the House.

      The bill would subject the Fed's balance sheet and monetary-policy deliberations to congressional audits. Yet the Fed is already audited 10 ways from Sunday. Deloitte & Touche and an inspector general perform an audit of the Fed's financial statements, its $4.5 trillion portfolio of assets and their market value, and the central bank's compliance with laws and regulations. The Government Accountability Office further reviews the Fed's internal controls.

      These reports are available, in all their soporific splendor, to members of Congress. Paul surely knows this. So what is the purpose of his bill? Ask Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, who opposes it. The bill is "an attempt to allow Congress to put pressure on the Fed's members" on monetary policy, he told Yellen. "That would not be a particularly good idea." ..... < snip >

    As I've said before, this fixation on the Fed, gold standard and other such economic nonsense is taking Republicans in exactly opposite direction from where they should go - recognize and credit the Fed with the recovery despite horrendous Keynesian "constant stimulus" fiscal policies of Obama and Democrats and deny them any credit for even the weakest recovery on record which came despite fedgov adding $8T to debt (so far) and piling more mandatory liabilities to already overburdened system. But this is a Republican Party, so... 'nuff said.

    We could go back to what we had before the Fed. Private banks issuing their own currency. No lender of last resort to halt bank runs...

    Yep, the last financial panic of the kind was in 1907, when John Pierpont Morgan played Godfather with the heads of 10 largest banks, to become "lenders of the last resort" and to stave off the run on the banks. It worked, but both the government and financial titans realized that there was a need for central bank. And thus the idea of public-private bridge / Federal Reserve System was born, patterned on the Bank of England. Lest be taken by charlatans, it helps to know history:

    When One Man Was the Central Bank - FR, post #9, 2010 December 29

    How to Make the Dollar Sound Again - FR, posts #15, #36, 2010 November 15

    Blame the Fed for the Financial Crisis - FR, posts #37, #39, #38 WSJ, by Ron Paul, 2011 October 21

  • Rand Paul Draws Liberal Fire As The Left Discovers Its Inner Love Of The Fed

    02/24/2015 11:00:22 PM PST · 10 of 21
    CutePuppy to entropy12
    Every quasi government entity must be have a congressional oversight. It does not mean congress will always be right or beneficial.

    They do have congressional oversight - at least 4 (twice to House and twice to Senate) times a year (see former Humphrey-Hawkins testimony)... By the way, today was the first day of Fed Chair Janet Yellen's testimony to Congress as part of this process : What to expect after Yellen's statement - CNBC, 2015 February 24

    Audit the Fed is nowhere near "oversight" - check again the link I provided before ( It's Official: Ron Paul Is Head Of Monetary Policy Subcommittee - FR, post #99, 2010 December 09 (acorn/tree) ) ... Just replace "Ron" with "Rand" and you'll see the difference between oversight which has been long in place and outright control / takeover of monetary system by politicians.

    Audit the Fed is stupid and not benign, and if it came from Democrats, most on FR would rightly be screaming "hijacking" and "politicizing" the Fed (whatever minor political biases they may have now are of human nature and can't be totally eliminated - that's why the Fed was layered that way, to minimize politics and maximize economics). Congressional takeover of monetary policy is not a solution, it is a problem to be avoided at all costs, just like takeover of Internet in the US by the FCC, under the "benign" guise of Net Neutrality.

    Ron Paul has been embarrassed several times by Bernanke during these hearings' exchanges, I hope Rand Paul becomes as transparent to conservatives as his father was.

  • Rand Paul Draws Liberal Fire As The Left Discovers Its Inner Love Of The Fed

    02/24/2015 9:09:23 PM PST · 8 of 21
    CutePuppy to entropy12; Kaslin; grania; All
    "Money-printing" by central banks in Japan and the US and elsewhere is not the cause of deflation (or inflation) - the reason for "printing" is the massive debt and deficits that have been and are being created ("printed") by their respective governments. The central banks simply monetize them the best they can as they are required to do by their charters. Without debt, there is no need for the Fed to "print money" or do QE - the Fed doesn't create the debt, in fact in the last few years it returned excess profit to the Treasury — on the order of approximately $100B per annum, on average — thus reducing the government deficits.

    This quixotic / "Paulist" focus on the Fed as "the root of all evil" is simply a political grandstanding, attention-grabber for financially / economically unsophisticated people who don't know or really understand what the Fed is required to do, according to the laws made by Congress, like the idiotic and self-contradictory "dual-mandate" etc., without having the necessary tools but for a few blunt monetary instruments granted to them by Congress... and as such setting up the political blame game with the Fed as a scape-goat for financial or economic problems created by politicians.

    It's also a convenient diversion from real problems created by the economically unworkable, stupid laws, taxes and regulations created for their own political purposes by Congress and administrations and agencies which distort normal realities of financial markets — like CRA, Sarbanes-Oxley, Dodd-Frank, Fannie and Freddie, HUD, CFPB etc. etc.

    Waging jihad against the Fed not only distracts from the positive things Fed has done for the economy — like creatively using QE to help keep rates low whichi allowed the private sector to refinance the debt, including mortgage and shore up corporate capital structures and equity markets which is the prime reason for somewhat less-than-disastrous economy and employment, and partially mitigate gross distortions of the economy from government malinvestment of fiscal "stimulus" programs, particularly ObamaCare —

    It would be far better for GOP, both politically and sincerely, to give credit to the Fed for saving the economy from the unwise fiscal policies of this administration and previous Congresses, and recognize, just like both Bernanke and Yellen said, that the US fiscal policy of high debt and deficits is unsustainable. This would recognize the Fed's contribution to the limping and weak, but not contracting, economy and gives it credit for health of the equity markets and corporate profits, which have provided them with capital to hire and increase employment - thus taking away any semblance of credit from Obama and the Democrats. As it stands, while GOP is busy beating up on the Fed, Obama and the Dems are laughing all the way to take the credit for all the things that monetary policy accomplished despite their disastrous fiscal policies and programs.

    That's the kind of thing that would also go over well with people who understand the economy and the differences and limitations of fiscal and monetary policies (which is why presidents would be wise to work together with the Fed, as article indicated, and as was done successfully during the 2008 financial/credit crisis) who would not be caught dead voting for liberal Democrats, yet are looking at Paulistas or other Fed-bashing Republicans and just shake their heads at the financial / economic ignorance of otherwise natural allies.

    Fed has already been much more transparent than Rand Paul. And Fed is audited, really audited, every year. this Audit the Fed ruse is about political control of the monetary policy by know-nothings in Congress and administrations, same way as the Net Neutrality which is really about regulation and control of the Internet. Maybe we should rename Audit the Fed into Fed Neutrality - that should go over well with OWS crowd and "disadvantaged."

    The Fed, in and of itself, is not the enemy - let's not create them where they don't exist and get embarrassed in the process.

    See also:
    There's a new mortgage crisis brewing [Richard Bove] - FR / CNBC, by Richard X. Bove, 2015 February 23

    It's Official: Ron Paul Is Head Of Monetary Policy Subcommittee - FR, post #99, 2010 December 09 (acorn/tree)

    Blame the Fed for the Financial Crisis - FR, post #38, WSJ, by Ron Paul, 2011 October 21 (acorn/tree)

    Meet The 35 Foreign Banks That Got Bailed Out By The Fed (And This Is Just The CPFF Banks) - FR, posts #31, #34, #35, #38, 2010 December 02

    br

  • There's a new mortgage crisis brewing [Richard Bove]

    02/24/2015 5:53:10 PM PST · 7 of 25
    CutePuppy to MadIsh32
    So what did Bush and Congress give them 700 billion dollars for back in 2008?

    If you mean $700B of credit facilities authorized under TARP, then only about $450B maximum was loaned out maximum at any given time (though more in total as some loans were made after some earlier ones have been repaid), and everything has been repaid to the Treasury and Fed, with interest, though not every borrower repaid the money... i.e., TARP well paid for itself and helped save the economy from downward credit spiral.

    By contrast, EU and ECB tried to do something similar in fits and starts, late and on the cheap, and they are still in much deeper trouble. Though they do not have the same centralized structural economic advantage that the US has.

  • There's a new mortgage crisis brewing [Richard Bove]

    02/24/2015 5:38:50 PM PST · 6 of 25
    CutePuppy to Arlis
    even though our credit rating is over 800......

    Congrats! Well above "average" but if you are disciplined, it's effortless - it's a state of mind.

    If this keeps up, no one will be able to finance any property. Period.

    In the last few years a lot of residential investment/rental properties have been bought for cash or with less than 20% financed, either by large PE firms or hedge funds (like Blackstone, or Colony American, and some were even created / spun off for this purpose, like the largest "pure" public REIT "American homes 4 Rent") or by HNW/UHNW cash-rich individuals / co-ops / 1031s etc., so the process entirely bypassed the whole morass of mortgage loan "system" as most people know it. It's pretty tough competition, though it seems like at this point these REITS are selling some chunks of appreciated properties in some areas and moving into other, more profitable for them, venues.

  • There's a new mortgage crisis brewing [Richard Bove]

    02/24/2015 4:49:11 PM PST · 1 of 25
    CutePuppy
    Long time coming... Between beating up on the "banksters" for not making new loans to the "under-served" groups, and fining them billions of dollars for making or having made the "predatory" loans to the "unsophisticated and underprivileged" borrowers — which the government had required them to make under various administrations' "home ownership society" policies, like CRA etc. — banks don't have much choice but to curtail some of the operations altogether and/or pass the cost of these regulations to [some of] their customers***.

    Several salient points in this communiqué by Richard Bove (equity research analyst at Rafferty Capital Markets) :

    Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the successor of FHA and the agency that regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, became alarmed at mortgage loans not being made, so they "told mortgage originators to ignore the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau**'s qualified rules and create mortgages with as high as 97% loan-to-value ratios (LTV)." They also "ignored the Treasury Department's mandate to shrink Fannie and Freddie and required these two companies to increase the number of mortgages that they are guaranteeing."

    Basically, one regulatory hand of the government ignored and told private sector to ignore what two [out of many] other regulatory hands of the government were doing or mandated to do.

    Now that Fannie and Freddie are taking fiscal losses (due to requirements that they pay dividends to the Treasury as part of the bailout plan, and now the dividends began to outstrip their earnings), the politicos are getting concerned that Fannie and Freddie will need another infusion of capital in the event of continued large losses, instead of being eventually phased out of existence as part of the original conservatorship plan. According to Bove, the people who looked at F&F BS (balance sheets) see that "their equity is disappearing in payments to the U.S. Treasury while their guaranteed book of loans is growing." What is happening is that F&F are creating more unqualified mortgage debt obligations [now explicitly] guaranteed by Uncle Sam, while everybody, including the "regulators" and Congress, is whistling Dixie. The problem is that are again accepting the Depression era Rooseveltian philosophy of needing government agency / F&F for creating and backing mortgage loans. So now they feel as in Catch-22: if they stop expansion of F&F, the housing market (which has been pretty weak to date) may stop cold, and if not, F&F will happily go on increasing taxpayers' debt obligations.

    What isn't mentioned in the article — because it's a different, though tangential subject — but is worth noting, is that the Treasury has been getting paid substantial dividends by F&F since conservatorship (as well as receiving excess profits annually from the Federal Reserve as it always had - in recent years, somewhere around $100B per annum, on average), which substantially reduced the budget deficit that Obama is so crowing about. In case of Fannie and Freddie, it's one hand getting the money that is visibly applied to the deficit, while the other hand, invisibly, creating more debt, i.e., borrowing LT debt to pay the current deficit.

    ---------

    ** CPFB was the wet dream and the creature of Elizabeth Warren finally enshrined in Dodd-Frank, which embedded the liberal slush fund / regulatory quasi-agency within the Federal Reserve, so it can be self-financed and unaccountable to Congress and/or even future Presidents, and as such, extremely difficult to eradicate.

    *** Also related: see today's headlines about JP Morgan starting to charge big customers for large deposits (i.e., negative interest rates, usually signifying disinflation or deflation and odious regulatory environment that are specifically targeting them lest they make a profit):
    Banks don't want these clients' cash - CNBC / WSJ, 2014 December 08
    Banks charging businesses fees a 'bad idea' - CNBC, by Kayla Tausche, 2014 December 08

      Recent regulations that are now causing big banks to start charging fees for some business deposits are a really bad idea, and will likely benefit small, regional banks, Chris Whalen, senior managing director at Kroll Bond Rating Agency, told CNBC Monday.

      The economists who designed the liquidity rules "don't have a clue of what they're doing," Whalen said in an interview with "Closing Bell." ..... < snip >

      ..... Last month, some hedge funds received a letter from JPMorgan stating that they would likely be charged for these deposits. Bank of America has also been targeting the deposits of hedge funds and smaller financial firms.

  • Alzheimer’s Breakthrough: Scientists Home In On Molecule Which Halts Development of Disease

    02/18/2015 9:43:51 PM PST · 21 of 21
    CutePuppy to ModelBreaker; hinckley buzzard; JohnBovenmyer
      "If this pans out it could alter the whole economics of health care. Alzheimer's is a very expensive disease, requiring sometimes years of nursing home care as well as treatments for other illnesses. "

        It will just shift the payments from nursing homes to pharmaceutical companies. I bet whatever medication is released requires lifetime treatment and will be VERY expensive.

    Yes, but only initially, and not for very long, even if it has to be taken on permanent basis, which is unlikely.

    Let's assume the cost of medicine is equal to the cost of nursing home care, starting out. Within a few years, pharma will start costing less, due to a likely competition and several other factors, including one that care involves humans and structures and regulations — and the wages, housing and cost of compliance usually rise while the costs of pharmaceuticals usually start to go lower after a while. In the long run, pharma is usually much more cost-effective over "manual" long-term care.

    That doesn't even take into account diminished QoL (quality of life) and productivity of the afflicted and their families and friends, the time spent for visits, care and mental anguish and suffering, as well as potential for the facilities / homes to be used for other, more useful medical or non-medical needs.

  • Fewer Americans Drinking And Driving; More Using Drugs [Alcohol, Marijuana, Pot]

    02/13/2015 1:52:47 PM PST · 25 of 26
    CutePuppy to Ken H
    I personally think it's calculated to distract from the point that nearly 20 years of looser pot laws have not resulted in deadlier highways.

    So the article which reports a large-scale study about the fact that "fewer Americans are drinking and driving; more are using drugs" and doesn't mention fatalities is a distraction from your later post about your unrelated theory of "deadlier highways" and not the other way around?

    This is transparently ridiculous. Well, I tried to help, but I might have been wrong about giving you the benefit of the doubt regarding your sincerity of "not understanding" the basic concepts and issues.

             

  • Fewer Americans Drinking And Driving; More Using Drugs [Alcohol, Marijuana, Pot]

    02/13/2015 11:44:35 AM PST · 23 of 26
    CutePuppy to Ken H
    Not to get too far from the non sequitur of your "highway deaths" theory to the facts of "fewer Americans are drinking and driving; more are using drugs" — I did not "distort," "failed to mention," or commit an "oversight, or a deliberate act of deceit to omit..."

    I presented a link to a number of posts (which include responses to and refutations of your #65 and other posts, so I didn't have to "mention" or "omit" anything) so that people who read the thread and are interested, may see your tendency to present your theories as correlations and/or implied causations (possible correlation that strongly implies and is passed as causation, without which theories and correlations are coincidental and meaningless). I didn't feel the need to continue that "conversation" on that thread or graft it into this one.

    Based on your posts, I think you are sincere in your confusion and not quite understanding the importance of the differences between these concepts (rather than "not understanding" it because it's convenient "not to understand" it) but it may confuse other people (as it's often designed to do, especially in politics or finance, some examples of which I have provided) and it makes difficult to have an intelligent argument with you without getting into all kinds of tangents and having useless "endless threads" and being called, in effect, a liar, i.e., "dishonest / distort / deliberate deceit / omit" etc., which is irresponsible and is often used in debates as a "shut up" or "yo' mama" or "change the subject" tactic.

    I think it's safe to say that you haven't met the burden of proof on your theory of "highway deaths" related to "fewer Americans are drinking and driving; more are using drugs" and leave it at that. tactic.

  • Fewer Americans Drinking And Driving; More Using Drugs [Alcohol, Marijuana, Pot]

    02/12/2015 5:12:46 PM PST · 20 of 26
    CutePuppy to Ken H; DiogenesLamp; Beagle8U; exDemMom; All
      This will be used in the public debate over marijuana policy...

    As it should, but there was absolutely nothing about fatalities in the article. You ignored it and went on that tangent, without any facts regarding intersecting data sets.

    If you are a hammer, everything starts looking like a nail.

    If your mind is set that everything in the world relates / caused only by drug laws, regulations or absence of them, then you will try to prove it no matter whether there is a causation in the data set or you have to create one out the blue.

    Just like some people find that everything revolves around "inequity," "racism," "social [in]justice" or some conspiracy theory and will find the "facts" that "prove" it in any unrelated or only tangentially related study.

    Trying to reduce everything to a single factor is bad enough, but using it to statistically or logically prove causation when it's not even a part of the data set is ridiculous.

    For example, much safer cars, better highways, car-pooling, drive for re-urbanization with higher utilization of public transportation in major cities (reducing, limiting / one-way, or banning passenger car traffic in certain areas) would have a reasonably high degree of correlation with whether the outcome of accident was fatal or not, and can be statistically verified, though fatalities were not a part the above report.

    You've had similar idée fixe before, attempting to "prove" correlation / causation of crime statistics in California relative to assumption of "loosened marijuana laws" when there was no causation and when other "non-loosened" states showed similar or better crime reduction statistics :

    Cannabis really can trigger paranoia - FR, posts #64, #68, #71, 2014 July 21

  • $386M allegedly missing, as investors fear bitcoin Ponzi

    02/12/2015 12:15:19 PM PST · 48 of 48
    CutePuppy to palmer; marron
      The online economy is in its infant stages with entirely new concepts and methods for knowledge, sharing, ownership, group ownership, etc being developed...

    I agree, the online economy is growing and will continue to grow, but for most people it will be various forms of EFT — whether they realize it or not (direct deposit, EBTs, prepaid cash/debit/"gift" cards etc.) — not involving Bitcoin [network].

      The main reason to transact in bitcoin however is to integrate into the online virtual currency world...

    Given the overhead of blockchain and other inherent problems of Bitcoin and network (of which, it seems, you are aware or becoming aware) I'd be very surprised if its structure became the model, because it's really rather expensive for what is essentially an intermediate exchange of currency.

    As a "Because I could!" engineering feat, it's somewhat impressive, if not elegant, but there are already many easier, "natural" (same for offline and online), safer (insured; not anonymous when they don't have to be, anonymous when they do) ways to transact business.

    So for 99+% of the people in the developed world Bitcoin is not a necessity, but rather would be relatively inconvenient. For some, it could be a novelty, for some it is / was a "currency" speculation, but even in terms of anonymity Bitcoin doesn't represent an advance over properly encrypted EFT.

    It may be of value to people who have a need to transact often and in small enough amounts with other people who can't or don't want to use "conventional" EFT services, which are themselves getting better, faster and cheaper - there are a lot of new companies in EFT space that don't involve Bitcoin or similar e-coin ecosystems, but rather build on existing infrastructures (see The Case of the Disappearing Dollar Bill link in my previous post).

    Here's latest example : Ecuador becomes the first country to roll out its own digital cash - CNBC, 2015 February 09

      In 2000, Ecuador moved to ditch its stumbling currency for the U.S. dollar. Now more than 15 years later, the South American country is revamping its monetary system again — using digital currencies.

      Ecuador's Sistema de Dinero Electrónico (electronic money system) kicked off in December by allowing qualifying users to set up accounts, and it will begin acting as a real means of transaction this month.

      Once the government flips the switch, the South American nation of 16 million will host the first-ever state-run electronic payment system. (Other countries, such as Sweden, use digital currencies widely, but they're not state-sponsored.) But the Ecuadorean government says the scheme is designed to support its dollar-based monetary system, not replace it.

      "Electronic money is designed to operate and support the monetary scheme of dollarization," economist Diego Martinez, a delegate of the President of the Republic to the Board of Regulation and Monetary and Financial Policy, wrote to CNBC in a comment provided by a central bank spokesman.

      Martinez said that Ecuador law expressly states that economic transactions are conducted in U.S. dollars.

      Electronic money will not only help the poor, he added, but will act as a cost-saving mechanism for the government: Ecuador spends more than $3 million every year to exchange deteriorating old notes for new dollars, Martinez said. There would presumably be less wear and tear on the currency if much of it was stored at the central bank while citizens relied on mobile payments. ..... < snip >

      ..... The dollar system has been good for the country's relatively low inflation and low interest rates, White said, adding that it would be difficult to start a new currency without ruining the economy. Ecuador's most recently reported monthly inflation rate of 3.67 percent is lower than neighbors including Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica and Bolivia. ..... < snip >

      ..... The project initially created buzz in the bitcoin blogosphere, but that interest faltered once it was clear that Ecuador's project would not present a competing alternative. ..... < snip >

      ..... The electronic money system does not require Internet access or an account with a financial institution, and it can be redeemed for physical money at any time, the central bank's website said. .....

  • Fewer Americans Drinking And Driving; More Using Drugs [Alcohol, Marijuana, Pot]

    02/11/2015 5:30:37 AM PST · 9 of 26
    CutePuppy to Ken H
    Another non sequitur.

    You are now using tautological fallacy of a different argument to change the subject and ignore the facts in evidence in the article.

    "You keep using that statistic. I don't think it means what you think it means."

  • Fewer Americans Drinking And Driving; More Using Drugs [Alcohol, Marijuana, Pot]

    02/11/2015 5:01:29 AM PST · 6 of 26
    CutePuppy to Artie
    There is also a large percentage of motorists under the influence of heavy prescription drug regimens.

    Yes, Ambien having been one of them prominently in the news lately, but any number of psychotropics could affect alertness.

    Hopefully, it seems they are starting to test and classify these cases better, in more detail, so that we may have a clearer picture in a few years, rather than automatic and generic DUI/DWI. Though many might have multiple drugs in their system, some may be shown to be prevalent or primary.

  • Fewer Americans Drinking And Driving; More Using Drugs [Alcohol, Marijuana, Pot]

    02/11/2015 4:42:31 AM PST · 5 of 26
    CutePuppy to Ken H
    Yet highways deaths rates are at record lows.

    Non Sequitur. What correlation, let alone causation, does that meaningless statistic of traffic deaths have to do with DUIs?

    "You keep using that statistic. I don't think it means what you think it means."

  • Fewer Americans Drinking And Driving; More Using Drugs [Alcohol, Marijuana, Pot]

    02/11/2015 1:56:22 AM PST · 1 of 26
    CutePuppy
    One reason for marked increase may be the recent attention to and availability of testing for drugs, more specifically for marijuana / THC as opposed to just alcohol.

    DUI / DWI used to mean "alcohol" (and reflected in traffic statistics as such), now they are starting to separate the causes and, not surprisingly, find that marijuana and other drugs are prevalent.

  • $386M allegedly missing, as investors fear bitcoin Ponzi

    02/10/2015 7:48:55 PM PST · 46 of 48
    CutePuppy to marron

    Meant to give you a ping, too. Might find it interesting.

  • $386M allegedly missing, as investors fear bitcoin Ponzi

    02/10/2015 7:41:32 PM PST · 45 of 48
    CutePuppy to palmer
      ..., are you then saying that there are no advantages to using bitcoin, compared to US dollar?

      ... and have been doing this well before bitcoin's ecosystem and its expensive hi-tech magic and wizardry of "mining" the final e-product which was supposed to appreciate simply because of artificially limited quantity (The Number) "mined", which was bestowed to us by some superior yet unknown being / body.

      So again, where is any advantage of Bitcoin over what already has long been done cheaply and efficiently with various forms of EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer)?

    I will address some of the technological differences and issues re advantages and disadvantages of EFT vs Bitcoin, but just to make it clear, these / my quoted responses were addressing the issue and the question of Bitcoin being "just like the US dollar" in the sense of being "backed by nothing" as in a "currency based on nothing, accounted for by nobodies, misrepresented as anonymous, and ultimately worth zero." In other words, it was a response to a specific political argument for a Bitcoin, not a technological one.

    Most of the advantages and disadvantages of Bitcoin economy are already well known to you, which is why you emphasize micropayments and microservices, which is what Bitcoin was originally developed for, as a method of generally small online payments over distant and disparate economic systems and currencies, and financial services, that otherwise would have to be either free or, more likely, unavailable.

      You can pay or tip anyone online instantly, whether or not they know anything about bitcoin and support an economy of micropayments for microservices.

    Of course, transactions are limited to online payments only, while most people shop locally or transact online with shops that have no problems accepting credit or debit cards in local currency that won't need to be immediately exchanged if they deem their local currency stable, i.e, they are not using Bitcoin as a store of value to manage their local currency risk. Debit transaction cost is much cheaper than credit cards since there is no credit risk and approval / acceptance / debit is instant, while Bitcoin transaction delivery may depend on priority (to prevent "penny-flooding" DoS on the network) - it's not necessarily real-time.

      EFT is much higher overhead in many cases. Sending 20 cents makes sense with bitcoin.

    I think one of the most common and perpetuated misconception is that Bitcoin transactions are cheaper than EFTs. Few of BTC transactions are "free" because it would defeat the financing mechanism, especially when "mining" is exhausted or inadequate as income source and transaction fees (just like in the banks) are needed for ecosystem to exist. And with the rising cost of "mining", both by original design due to increasing complexity and electricity cost, and with with the immense inflation of the BTC since the "early days," the transaction fees will represent higher proportion of ecosystem than originally projected. That particularly hurts the primary reason for BTC — micropayments — that "sending 20 cents" in BTC/satoshis transaction may become very expensive. By contrast, it may cost nothing to send it over the phone or computer (EFT) depending on type of your account at the bank, which could be very flexible and customizable, depending on your needs. Also, with the rise of newer EFT services (like Square and bank deposit / debit apps) the "conventional" EFT systems are becoming cheaper and more transparent.

    Links to BTC transactions' costs and time:
    Bitcoin Is an Expensive Way to Pay for Stuff - FR, post #21, 2014 January 05

    The Case of the Disappearing Dollar Bill - FR, post #26, 2014 January 05

    Bitcoin Price... to $1 Million? - FR, post #56, by Greysard, 2014 April 04

    Debit vs Credit Card Charge / Offline Debit Vs Online Debit Vs Credit Card Charges - FR, post #57, 2014 April 06

    So the article's conclusion — that Bitcoin (or other altcoin) will be mostly limited to libertarians (to simplify, "because US dollar is a fiat currency, backed by nothing, manipulated / devalued by the Fed, used to track your purchases and at some point may be confiscated by Government from your savings accounts") and the hi-tech geeks who feel comfortable with it, think it gives them some sense of privacy, Bitcoin's "cool factor" or because they really have a legitimate need to pay some people (mostly software coders) for services in regions like Asia and Europe where "normal" EFT could be either difficult or undesirable — seems very logical.

    Micropayments, while useful, is a minuscule segment of world economy so, while theoretically interesting, inventing a relatively complex (mashing several existing technologies - P2P, cryptography, database) and relatively useless / resource-wasting (e-coin "mining" is a resource-consuming activity as opposed to most resource-creating or resource-transforming activities - like "work" - which is what usually done to get paid) system with the great potential of abuse when scaled up and misrepresented, may not be the best way to serve it.

    Of course, the anonymity aspect is a double-edge sword. In fact, it doesn't need Bitcoin to be accomplished, but anonymous EFTs have some of the same dangers, if not done properly.

    From Green Dot's Decision to Stop Selling MoneyPak Cards Will Take a Toll - Dealbook/NYT , by Matthew Goldstein, 2015 February 03:

      MoneyPak had become a popular method of payment for online swindlers.

      The decision by Green Dot to stop selling MoneyPak, its popular prepaid card, will take a bite out of the company's projected revenue and bottom line this year, and that has taken a toll on the company's share price over the last several days.

      Green Dot, the nation's largest seller of prepaid debit cards, has estimated that its decision last year to discontinue MoneyPak, partly because it had become a popular method of payment for online swindlers, could shrink operating revenue by $10 million to $40 million. The company, based in Pasadena, Calif., has also estimated its operating cash flow, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, may be $2 million to $10 million lower without sales of MoneyPak this year. ..... < snip >

      ..... The company said last week that it would stop shipping MoneyPak cards to stores that sell them this month. It anticipates that most MoneyPak cards will be gone from store shelves by the end of March.

      Last summer, Green Dot announced it intended to stop selling MoneyPak as it moved to a newer technology. It is replacing MoneyPak with a product that will enable customers to add money to existing prepaid cards by swiping them at a special machine at the registers of stores that used to sell MoneyPak.

      The company said its decision to discontinue the paper MoneyPak card was also prompted by growing concern about the ease with which swindlers were using MoneyPak to conduct both online and telephone scams.

      Scams involving prepaid debit cards have been on the rise for the last few years and have resulted in dozens of warnings to consumers from the F.B.I., state law enforcement agencies and even a congressional committee. The cards allow for quick and easy money transfers, often done with a great deal of anonymity, a feature that has attracted scam artists. ..... < snip >

      ..... MoneyPak cards have a unique numerical code, or PIN, on the back of each paper card. Anyone with that code has access to the money stored on the card. Scam artists who use MoneyPak as a method of payment persuade unsuspecting victims — often the elderly — to voluntarily give them the code.

    Another publication (paywalled) points out that MoneyPak was sold at nationwide stores like Wal-Mart, where customers could load cash from $20 to $500, on a deposit certificate "card" (which was really just a peace of cardboard with a printed 14-digit PIN) after which money could be transferred to a prepaid debit card through Green Dot's website or automated phone service. This was very convenient, for example, to several members of Baltimore's branch of national prison gang Black Guerilla. In fact, it became the gang's main financial instrument, where prisoners use a slang "dot" referring to PIN codes. (Baltimore... does "Wire" come to mind?) New procedure will load the prepaid debit card at the register, eliminating codes. Here's the kicker - Green Dot projects significantly lower revenue from the new method, because the demand is lower than for the product that is easy for criminals to use anonymously.

  • $386M allegedly missing, as investors fear bitcoin Ponzi

    02/09/2015 11:18:05 PM PST · 35 of 48
    CutePuppy to Roger Kaputnik
    After all, are we not headed towards a cashless global economy where everything is based upon electronic transfers of “credits” instead of dollars, pounds, euros, etc.?

    If you replace "instead of" with "denominated / valued in", then yes, pretty much, but not limited to.

    And could do, and have been doing this well before bitcoin's ecosystem and its expensive hi-tech magic and wizardry of "mining" the final e-product which was supposed to appreciate simply because of artificially limited quantity (The Number) "mined", which was bestowed to us by some superior yet unknown being / body.

    So again, where is any advantage of Bitcoin over what already has long been done cheaply and efficiently with various forms of EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer)?/em

  • $386M allegedly missing, as investors fear bitcoin Ponzi

    02/09/2015 10:26:57 PM PST · 30 of 48
    CutePuppy to catnipman
    Uh, tech-savvy and/or libertarians as a class know better than to get within 100 miles of BS like bitcoin.

    The few that I know that fit the descriptions above and have some bitcoins in their possession, only got a small number of them early, at a minimal cost, for hands-on (not purely theoretical) research of the system.

    I think the struggle will be to gain traction beyond the demographic of fools, you know, that group which is soon parted from their money.

    The lyrics of the Beatles song I put in my first post end with "A fool and his money..." :~)

  • $386M allegedly missing, as investors fear bitcoin Ponzi

    02/09/2015 10:10:44 PM PST · 29 of 48
    CutePuppy to Roger Kaputnik
      A currency based on nothing, accounted for by nobodies, misrepresented as anonymous, and ultimately worth zero.

        Just like the US dollar?

    Leaving aside the arguments about characterization of the US dollar (or Swiss franc, British pound, Japanese yen, or most other more or less sound currencies on this planet which are "backed by nothing"), are you then saying that there are no advantages to using bitcoin, compared to US dollar? What's the point of using it, then?

  • $386M allegedly missing, as investors fear bitcoin Ponzi

    02/09/2015 9:30:50 PM PST · 21 of 48
    CutePuppy to NRx
      I feel bad for the people who got taken.

    This one seems like a double-whammy! Apparently, these people were thinking that they were going to "invest" in a new Bitcoin exchange ("hip, sexy" topic as late as a year ago), which was to be financed via a MLM (Multi-Level Marketing, most of which are nothing more than a pyramid/Ponzi scheme with some "vertical" twist) and their income stream and/or exist strategy was going to be recruiting people for lower level.

    Really, what could go wrong with this one?

  • $386M allegedly missing, as investors fear bitcoin Ponzi

    02/09/2015 9:20:01 PM PST · 19 of 48
    CutePuppy to Moonman62

    I think the article covers criminals and libertarians and assumes that anarchists fall into one or both of these categories?

  • $386M allegedly missing, as investors fear bitcoin Ponzi

    02/09/2015 9:08:45 PM PST · 15 of 48
    CutePuppy to marron
      ... there is a need for something like the equivalent to escrow or title insurance (in real estate) that verifies the transaction so that people cannot be defrauded with impunity. Obviously it needs to be real time or very nearly real time as well.

    But that's exactly the idea behind the blockchain, which is the heart and soul, sine qua non of Bitcoin. It's often described as "brilliant" yet it has many problems of its own (one of which is that it also serves as a "ball and chain") for escrow/verification of transactions. It doesn't do much against theft or accidental loss.

      Financial privacy is an essential component to freedom.
      The anonymity of the system makes it hard to have any recourse if you open your account and the money is missing.

    But that's the point - essentially, what you want is the "privacy, safety, convenience/freedom" (a little twist on "good, fast and cheap" trilemma™) - pick two of the three!ul

  • $386M allegedly missing, as investors fear bitcoin Ponzi

    02/09/2015 8:27:20 PM PST · 2 of 48
    CutePuppy to CutePuppy
    From Bitcoin's rough start to the year may get worse - CNBC, by Nyshka Chandran, 2015 February 08

      Bitcoin transactions could more than halve this year, Juniper Research predicted, as a lack of regulation and links with illegal activity hinder the cryptocurrency's ability to go mainstream.

      In a recent report, the U.K.-based research firm estimated the value of cryptocurrency transactions would decline to $30 billion in 2015 from over $71 billion last year.

      The bearish figures follow a rough start to the year for the controversial digital currency. Prices have been in freefall, trading below $250 throughout January compared with $1,000 at the same time last year, according to CoinDesk, a widely-watched price index.

      "The decline is attributable to the combined impact of exchange collapses, Bitcoin theft and regulatory concerns around cryptocurrency's role in funding dark web purchases," Juniper Research said. ..... < snip >

      ..... "The high-profile Mt. Gox collapse in 2014 highlighted the need for better technology and security controls for bitcoin exchanges, much as the U.S. flash crash highlighted these issues for traditional securities markets," Tepper added. Japanese firm Mt. Gox was a leading bitcoin exchange last year before going bankrupt following the disappearance of 850,000 bitcoins.

      As a result of an unregulated marketplace, bitcoin theft has thrived, Juniper Research said, referring to the recent theft of nearly 19,000 bitcoins from U.K exchange Bitstamp, the second largest dollar-bitcoin exchange.

      Public perception of bitcoin is closely associated with illegal online purchases and remains a major turnoff for widespread usage. In 2013, the currency came into focus for its prominence on notorious black market website Silk Road. Moreover, reports have emerged that bitcoin may be used by Islamic State militants as part of their fundraising campaigns.

      Juniper Research argues that such claims will likely see bitcoin struggle to gain traction beyond a tech-savvy and libertarian demographic.

      .....

  • $386M allegedly missing, as investors fear bitcoin Ponzi

    02/09/2015 8:26:36 PM PST · 1 of 48
    CutePuppy
    "Easy money! Get on the ground floor of "Flipping bitcoins"" investing events?

    "If you want it, here it is
    Come and get it, but you better hurry
    'Cause it may not last
    If you want it, any time
    Come and get it, but you better hurry
    'Cause it's going fast..."

  • Manufacturing Renaissance Hype: Questionable Manufacturing Revival

    01/19/2015 7:47:12 PM PST · 14 of 18
    CutePuppy to Repeal The 17th
    I believe that is called "contract to spec" or "hiring to spec"?
  • Manufacturing Renaissance Hype: Questionable Manufacturing Revival

    01/19/2015 7:40:51 PM PST · 13 of 18
    CutePuppy to bigbob
    There has been some re-shoring due to higher cost of labor in China, however some companies moved to lower-cost (at least for now) countries, like Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and even Myanmar (Burma) - e.g., see The New China - Surging exports are making Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar dynamic economic rivals to their much larger neighbor. - B (sub), by Leslie P. Norton, 2014 November 15.

    Many things go into consideration whether to re-shore or stay or move within Asia or Eastern Europe: cost of labor, cost of transport (if goods are made for re-import), taxes and administrative / regulatory cost.

    Another big issue is that much of the money (near USD$2T) are not only generated but also stay in Asia / Europe, because of the huge US corporate tax on repatriated money which companies would need to hire in the US.

    Yet another issue is that this 2013 article talks about a specific impetus for jobs re-shoring, i.e., fracking. That's not quite regular "manufacturing" (most of the jobs in energy sector qualify as "service") and, now is not a good time for fracking / energy industry, with layoffs across the board in "manufacturing" and "service" until the next boom.

    Also, freight cost is going to be substantially lower for a while, for the same reasons. So it's been a trickle of re-shoring and off-shoring recently, to a virtual net zero. Large and medium companies are looking at the rise of new "occupy" / "higher minimum wage" / NLRB "franchise / corporate" initiatives and rules, and are not too anxious to start a lot of hiring in the US.

  • Why Wages Lag Employment Recovery

    01/19/2015 6:58:54 PM PST · 29 of 35
    CutePuppy to txrefugee
      In order for these unfortunates to make the same amount they used to make, you have to double the wage scale…BUT THEY STILL WILL BE MAKING THE SAME AMOUNT per day, which the government says is not enough.

    Consider this [seemingly implausible] scenario: Employer A has employee X working 40 hours per week. Employer B has employee Z working 40 hours a week, at the same wage as employee X.

    Due to ObamaCare and/or other regulations/mandates/taxes Employer A cuts hours of Employee X to 20hrs/wk, and hires Employee Z (who just had his work time cut to 20 hrs/wk by Employer B) for other 20 hrs/wk, while Employee Z found additional 20 hrs/wk employment with Employer B.

    From the point of labor statistics, you previously had 2 employers providing 80 hrs/wk to 2 employees (resulting in 2 jobs) at certain $$ rate per hour. Now you have same 2 employers, but it's now 4 employees (or 2 employees, if you prefer) working at the same $$ rate (resulting in 4 jobs), most likely with reduced non-wage benefits.

    Voilà! The "economy" has just created 2 "new" jobs.

    That's how it goes, and everybody knows.

  • Why Wages Lag Employment Recovery

    01/19/2015 6:41:18 PM PST · 28 of 35
    CutePuppy to CutePuppy
    Sorces: Bureau of Labor Statistics and Social Security Administration

     

  • Why Wages Lag Employment Recovery

    01/19/2015 6:35:59 PM PST · 27 of 35
    CutePuppy to thackney; expat_panama; 1010RD; mmichaels1970; Georgia Girl 2; eyeamok; Organic Panic; All
    From Work's for Squares - The Decline of Work - B (sub), by Gene Epstein, 2014 August 30

      ..... The share of the adult population, 16 and over, participating in the labor force is at its lowest level since 1978, at 62.8% and 62.9% in June and July, respectively. In a comprehensive study of trends in the workforce released in December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said it expects a further decline in labor-force participation, to 61.6%, by 2022. ..... < skip>

      ..... WHAT CAUSED THE DECLINE, despite the tight labor market? Some analysts, impressed by the degree to which government programs can cause disincentives to work, point out that the drop coincided with the mid-1960s advent of the Great Society programs. ..... < skip >

      ..... WHEN IT COMES TO the millions of people receiving Social Security disability income, however, it is fairly certain that virtually all of them are outside of the labor force.

      The SSDI program "creates a very strong incentive against meaningfully participating in the formal labor market," says Massachusetts Institute of Technology economics professor David Autor, author of the November 2011 study, "The Unsustainable Rise of the Disability Rolls in the United States." ..... < skip >

      Losing Ground - Labor Force Participation chart since 1948 (Currently, nearly one of every eight prime-age men is not in the labor force) - JPEG image

      Disability Explosion (The share of men and women receiving SSDI payments has soared over the past few decades - JPEG image

      ..... The surge in the number of recipients hasn't been driven by the aging of the population, argues Stanford University economics professor Mark Duggan, because the percentage receiving benefits has risen sharply within each age group. According to the chart above, the share of SSDI going to men ages 25 to 54 has risen from 1.4% in 1970 to 3.3% in 2013.

      This has occurred even though all other key factors indicate that the portion of workers on SSDI should have decreased, rather than increased. A smaller percentage of people are doing dangerous work, and the work that is dangerous is getting safer. In addition, the general population has gotten healthier. While those who used to file for disability typically had ailments such as cancer and heart trouble, today's filers more typically complain of mental disorders and back pain. The Social Security Website (ssa.gov) offers a "Disability Starter Kit" in both English and Spanish that walks you through the process of applying for SSDI, step-by-step.

      "There is a very powerful kind of for-profit advocacy component to getting people onto SSDI," says Autor. Law firms that represent claimants are given a percentage of the take, much like personal-injury lawyers. That might seem reasonable, but the sums involved are large enough to create a special-interest group that has a stake in perpetuating the system. As Autor puts it, "The Social Security Administration each year pays more than $1 billion directly to attorneys that prevail against it on behalf of claimants." ..... < skip >

      ..... But one new factor that is just around the corner is the depressing effect on labor-force participation of the Affordable Care Act. ... The disincentives work like this: By working more, people could lose subsidies bestowed by the ACA, amounting to an implicit tax on earnings, which could induce them to work less. ..... < skip > ..... But a firm with 49 full-time employees will face a $40,000 penalty if it fails to provide medical insurance after adding a 50th employee. The huge marginal cost of that 50th worker will deter expansion. ..... < skip >

  • Manufacturing Renaissance Hype: Questionable Manufacturing Revival

    01/19/2015 3:49:39 PM PST · 7 of 18
    CutePuppy to ROCKLOBSTER

    Bots are funny that way... have been doing this since Industrial Revolution. Ned Ludd was not happy.

  • Manufacturing Renaissance Hype: Questionable Manufacturing Revival

    01/19/2015 3:36:23 PM PST · 5 of 18
    CutePuppy to Gen.Blather
    "Regulation"

    It's also a huge problem afflicting most of Europe; in particular, it's suffocating and corrupting business in Italy.

    From the same article: "Banks are under assault. We have five or six regulators coming at us on every different issue. It's a hard thing to deal with." - JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, on an earnings call

  • Manufacturing Renaissance Hype: Questionable Manufacturing Revival

    01/19/2015 2:48:30 PM PST · 3 of 18
    CutePuppy to Admin Moderator

    Author is Robin Goldwyn Blumenthal (please fix the author field if possible)

  • Manufacturing Renaissance Hype: Questionable Manufacturing Revival

    01/19/2015 2:43:43 PM PST · 2 of 18
    CutePuppy to expat_panama

    Might be of interest to your ping list?

  • Manufacturing Renaissance Hype: Questionable Manufacturing Revival

    01/19/2015 2:42:11 PM PST · 1 of 18
    CutePuppy
    This is the manufacturing data only, doesn't include "service economy," but an interesting independent fact-based research.
  • Former senator to lead marijuana company

    01/02/2015 6:01:42 AM PST · 32 of 35
    CutePuppy to taildragger; __rvx86; workerbee
    I have not seen a major Fortune 500 Drug Company (unless I am wrong) even try or do research in this "marketspace". Why? Has the "Big-Pharma" wrap the left gave them nixed them from doing so? Or is this a ruse to get young Voters so they don't end up with a Felony on their life trajectory which is in many cases a Career/firearm ownership/voting killer?

    There are number of pharma companies involved in production of cannabis derivatives, including some public ones with over $1B in market cap (e.g., GW Pharmaceuticals plc / GWPH) but the size of entire "industry" is pretty small for F500 to get involved, and the actual clinical results from cannabis are overhyped by people using the cause of "medical" marijuana to push for legalization of recreational marijuana (as misguided as they might be thinking that they are limiting the government, while in fact "tax and regulate" is actually increases state government's involvement, control and funding - but that's not unexpected from libertarians and potheads)

    See U.S. LEGALIZED CANNABIS INDUSTRY ESTIMATED TO BE WORTH OVER $2 BILLION IN 2014 AS LICENSED MEDICAL MARIJUANA OPERATORS GROW EXPONENTIALLY

    All this rather than going a pill extracted form for those who truly need it, especially the sub-category variant referred to as "Charlot's Web" which seems to have great potential in seizure disorder related diseases.

    Charlotte's Web is a very-low-THC/high-CBD strains of hemp with a great marketing and publicity campaign (and which was stolen from original developer of the strain) but it is only one strain of many no-THC/high-CBD industrial hemp strains, which may be effective for some epilepsy / seizures control. But pharmaceutical grade hemp oil or chewing gum with high CBD and no (or low, <0.02% THC) has never been illegal and can be legally purchased, even by mail, from US and Canadian sources.

    Pro-legalization people often deliberately make no distinction between marijuana cannabis and hemp cannabis, because they are interested in high THC, not CBD (and the "higher" the THC content, the better for them, even if 14%+ are equivalent to morphine strength)

    In other words, like you said, a lot of these "medical" wonders of marijuana is used a ruse, without any consideration to the damage it will cause. But then again, they urge others to "live in the moment" while the consequences are in the future.

  • Leaked NSA Documents Reveal How To Hide From The NSA

    01/02/2015 4:59:25 AM PST · 29 of 34
    CutePuppy to KarlInOhio; Libloather
    Maybe the NSA just needs to develop the best, most secure anonymizers and invite people to use them... or maybe they already have < /conspiracy mode>

    Tor / "onion routing" anonymizing network was actually originally developed by NRL/Navy and NSA (and funded by CIA, DoD and some other agencies) for use in the field by CIA, Navy, DIA, FBI and some state police investigative branches.

    CSpace and ZRTP are simply encrypted IMS and Real Time Protocol based mostly on enhanced public-private key exchange protocols, first implemented in free open-sourced PGP by Phil Zimmerman.

  • Palestinian Statehood Resolution Fails at UN Security Council

    12/31/2014 12:27:51 AM PST · 17 of 17
    CutePuppy to BenLurkin; lbryce; Star Traveler
    Scary.

    Not really. This was just another political kabuki play, strictly for the benefit of policy reaffirmation and reassurance of that segment of their respective domestic audience that pays attention to these things.

    Reading closer: supported the text setting a 12-month deadline for negotiations on a final peace deal with Israel and an imposed full Israeli withdrawal ...

    There is nothing remotely enforceable about negotiations or withdrawal (how can you impose something that is subject to negotiations, and further, who is going to impose "it"?) The motion was guaranteed to fail and it successfully did.

    Everybody did their obligatory show of hands, drank their Perrier or San Pellegrino (both are products of a fine company, Nestlé Waters) and went home happy. A job well and professionally done.

    "La commedia e finita!"

  • Russian ruble weakens as traders see no major measures in Putin speech

    12/18/2014 9:31:56 AM PST · 14 of 21
    CutePuppy to AU72; elhombrelibre; Grampa Dave; All
    A wartime President would be doing everything to keep the price of oil down to send these countries reeling and force Cuba to our terms.

    Exactly, that's the real point of this "humanitarian" gesture, that has been missed by most observers and commenters. It has nothing to do with the policy "not working" (what does that even mean? If embargo is not "working" how was it supposed to "work" and why did Cuba, which trades with many other Western countries desperately wanted it to end?)

    The capo di tutti capi, the Czar of all czars Obama noticed that despite his best efforts to keep oil and gas prices up, the energy market has done so much damage to Russia (and Iran), the main benefactor of rogue and socilaist regimes in this world that he had to bail them out, by trumpeting that the "evil" past and current policies of the USA are "not working" and for "humanitarian" reasons he will simply override them, by creating his own, "legacy"-making one.

  • Obama To Unilaterally Normalize Relations With Cuba

    12/18/2014 1:22:26 AM PST · 49 of 70
    CutePuppy to logic101.net; All
    But then again that is his specialty; creating chaos. He has been taking (please excuse the spelling) Clowerd-Pivon to new heights.

    He has Cloward-Piven ("Overwhelm the system!") written all over him. This is going to be one of his "weekly crisis" sessions.

    So in the 2 years remaining of his "doing time" we are looking at about 50-100 new crises — by its nature, it's very difficult for Congress to formulate and make a timely and appropriate response to an avalanche of "executive actions" ...