Wednesday, February 29, 2012


It is a good idea to have emergency planning. For example, a plan to escape your house in case of fire. Insurance is planning and the spread of risk of potential disaster. With all of the uncertainty today, it is a good idea to have a supply of basic emergency items, even long term food storage. On the financial side, it is good to have some gold or precious metals. I have followed gold and precious metals since the late 1970’s. The inflation back then made it imperative to own some, of which I had none. I suspect we are due for another, even more severe round of inflation so to ignore this is to take additional risk at your own peril. Precious metals are not good to purchase consumables during time of crisis, so it is by no means an end in itself. Precious metals ARE good to offset the rapid rise in inflation. Keeping this in mind, I have noticed that the price of Platinum over the past 30-35 years was generally 25% to 50% higher than the price of gold. This is the general historical relationship. The only exception that I have noticed was back in the early 1990’s, Platinum had dropped within $10-$15 of the price of gold. Platinum was a good buy at that time. This lasted for about a year or so. Today Platinum is even more of a good buy. Gold is at $1786.00 and Platinum is at $1720.00. This is a ratio not supported by value and historical patterns. I expect a correction with Platinum doing well in relation to gold and silver, like we saw in the early to mid 1990’s. Maybe even more so today, particularly if the economy does bounce back somewhat. Platinum has many more industrial uses (Like silver) so would be in even more demand if and when the economy begins to “recover”. A quick comment: Don’t purchase precious metals with the idea of buying and selling to make money. Purchase it for balance and as insurance against severe inflation. Today, it is imperative that you possess at least some precious metals as insurance. The point is that even if precious metals don’t go up, Platinum is still a good buy relative to other precious metals such as gold and silver.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Economic threat

Over the past 8 or 9 months, I have devoted much of this blog to economic issues. My overall interest in conflict and warfare has not diminished. I would like to point out that I am a firm believer that economics is a root cause of conflict and warfare. (It was no coincidence that the greatest war in man’s history was immediately preceded by the greatest economic downturn in man’s history) People will fight over resources more quickly than anything else. What do you argue with your spouse more than anything else? Conflict over the allocation of resources is what my wife and I fight about. How we are going to allocate our time? How are we going to use the space in the house? How much we can spend on our new washing machine? (Or even if we need a new one) The study of conflict and warfare is the study of human nature. Many times you hear how history repeats itself. It does not. No two people are the same, nor are any two situations the same. What remains the same is human nature. While people do react differently to different situations, we can expect to see patterns or what historians call ‘parallels’. These are similar situations where people react in similar ways. Panic in a fire or other disaster. Rioting and looting in certain situations. We are all like this, no matter what we believe. Think Americans are different? Just look at what happened during hurricane Katrina. And this was a more extreme version of what happened during hurricane Betsy in 1965. They had looting back then also. We are all human and subject too human weakness. This is why I have been stressing economic issues for the past year. The war against Islamic nationalism goes on. I believe that the phase the war is in is relatively ‘quiet’ right now because of consolidations that are going on in the Middle East. At the same time, I believe that it is the economic time bomb that is ready to go off that will provide the match that lights the fuse. Europe is in serious financial trouble. But it is not just Europe. The U.S. is in serious financial trouble. The economic problem does not stop there. China is in serious financial trouble as well and Japan is not exactly booming. These are the four largest economies in the world. In other words, we could be looking right at a worldwide financial and economic disaster that would make the Great Depression look like a warm up routine. The war that could result would easily qualify as World War III. The very reason why I am spending so much of our time focused upon these economic issues.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Definition of terrorist

Definition of terrorist In my post about Liberty, I used a quote from Lincoln where he defines liberty in two conflicting ways. In politics and economics, the same word can have different meaning to different people. I have run into this problem with the term, terrorist. Some people’s terrorist is another persons ‘freedom fighter’. This is where the different definitions of Liberty come into play. A terrorist is one who engages in terrorism. However, Wikipedia says that terrorism has no internationally recognized definition. It defines terrorism as the systematic use of terror especially as a form of coercion. Common definitions are those acts designed to create fear and target non-combatants. (Civilians) No wonder a clear definition escapes us. Warfare has always targeted civilians and many times acts that were against international law at one time are recognized as valid today. (Unrestricted submarine warfare is a classic example) Wikipedia has pointed out that studies have found more than 100 definitions of terrorist. This very lack of a recognized definition of ‘terrorist’ is why I call our enemy ‘terrorists’ of today, Islamic nationalists instead. Other ‘terrorists’ are present throughout the world today, but the enemy of the United States that is acting as a national entity are the Islamic nationalist groups that the United States recognizes as ‘terrorist’ organizations. (And many that are not formally recognized) This way, we avoid the Liberty definition problem and narrow the definition to the war at hand. The first rule of warfare is to know thy enemy. If we define our enemy as those entities that are acting in the interests of a National Islamic government that ‘occupies’ land and controls ‘waters’ but has no internationally recognized national government, we can be more effective in the war that is being waged against us. Osama Bin Laden is a classic example of an Islamic nationalist. Remember how no nation would accept the body? Iran only wanted to ensure that his body was treated in accordance to Islamic tradition. (Law) The source of that law, the Koran, is not a very flexible document, nor is it very tolerant. The excessive violence in the penalties of the violation of its rules is a very good indicator. Hence, the extreme violence of many of it’s adherents. These are the ones that I am calling Islamic nationalists. These are the ‘terrorists’ who kill in the name of Allah as loyalty to the religion and it’s body of law that overrides the authority and responsibilities of the modern national government.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Global meltdown again?

The cover of Newsweek (1/31/12) has the following title of an article on the lower part of its cover. The title reads: “Will Christine Lagarde stop the next global meltdown?” The article explains how an economic crisis can easily erupt as a result of the economic problems in Europe and the United States.

Wait a minute. As this article pointed out, we were saved from a potential great depression only a few years ago. President Obama and the Democrats passed the stimulus bill that saved the day. But now it is only 3 years later, and the problem is just as bad, if not worse? Apparently, the issue has yet to be resolved.

Greece is experiencing riots and unrest because of the cutbacks necessary to stabilize the spending. A number of other countries in Europe are not far behind Greece. The United States is not very far behind them. We are already experiencing unrest at the very threat of cutbacks and these are just a threat and not nearly as severe as what Greece must do. And we are not heading that way?

How often do you suppose global crisis occurs? The size of the problem alone would lead me to believe that it would be a long time between each occurrence. If you look at the history of the 20th century, you can find several. Spread out over 100 years. Now we have two in less than 5 years. This is just the same crisis. That cliff that we were saved from is still right in front of us. And our financial position must be weaker as the ‘solution’ was to spend more money that we had to borrow and has made the debt that much larger and more difficult to pay off. In fact, the interest on the debt is fast becoming a problem. This is where Greece has run into trouble. The global meltdown is still a potential threat, and Christine Lagarde does not have the power to halt the massive spending that is the base cause.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tipping point?

Greece is at a tipping point. They have no other choice than to cut spending. Just look at what the population of Greece is now doing. This is human nature at work. If your society understands that it can vote itself more benefits and entitlements (For ‘free’) why would any sane person say NO? The problem comes years later when it comes time to pay. Then benefits have to be cut back. For a society that is accustomed to certain benefits, they will fight to save what they have. (Think union mentality) Why should a person NOT be able to retire at age 53 and get full retirement benefits? What is wrong with age 50?

The United States is heading the way of Greece. President Obama’s budget does not address the core issue of spending. This same budget does not stand a chance of passing because the Senate will block any vote. (It would not pass anyway) Our Federal government has not had a budget in 3 years. In other words, our republic is NOT working.

Fast and Furious echoes are still with us. Now we have our Federal government mandating insurance companies to provide ‘free’ contraceptive materials. Religious organizations that offer insurance to their employees will be supporting and paying for this against their beliefs. In addition, we have the Federal government working with ‘non-profit’ organizations to hire private investigators to research employees of Fox News and other conservative organizations to dig up dirt to be used to discredit them. (Remember Jack Ryan?) No person and organization is perfectly clean. We all have problems and skeletons. Did you not do some things that you now regret? What happened to our historical pattern of forgiveness and tolerance of past mistakes? I guess our “Christian values” only go so far. Or have we ‘fundamentally CHANGED’?

How did Greece get into the mess they have? People elected the leaders that gave the population what they wanted. Now the government must do things that the people don’t want, against their will. The result is violence. If Greece is lucky, they will not get revolution. We need to keep a close eye on Greece and Europe. We are doing the same things that they are. The United States is just not as far along in the process. It is human nature. You know the old definition of insanity. Keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. Maybe in the short run, we can stall this destructive pattern. Human nature will not allow for a complete reversal. President Obama is certainly not interested in stopping this pattern. He is doing everything in his power to ‘fundamentally CHANGE’ America. He is succeeding.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

President Obama is a fake Christian

Plenty of people are not practicing Christians, or Catholics, or whatever. I count myself among this group. Although practicing Catholics brought me up, I do not actively practice the religion. Nor do I claim to be. However, having attended 8 years of Catholic schools and having attended 4 years of CCD I can safely say that I can recognize a Christian (Not necessarily Catholic) if I see one. And President Obama is a fake.

In yesterday’s mini-speech, President Obama was speaking about his Christian values. He must not understand what those values are all that much. What he was attempting to say had little to do with the values that I have witnessed time and again throughout my life. My teachers (Yes, many but not all were nuns) LIVED that way. President Obama cannot have any concept of what this means. If you are not a practicing Christian, you generally don’t talk about it. It just does not come up. President Obama speaks as if he IS a practicing Christian.

Whether President Obama is a practicing Christian or not, he would never have had to make that speech. He/she would have recognized the threat of what President Obama is attempting to do and would have taken those views into account long ago. His attempt to stay the course tells us that yet again. And it does not matter if the Catholic Church is not paying for the contraception services; it is the very IDEA. Now, speaking as a Catholic, the choice the church will have is to NOT offer ANY insurance at all.

President Obama cannot understand this, so he must not understand the way the Catholic Church teaches and embraces the Christian faith all that well. President Obama would do much better if he stopped pretending to be a Christian. He is not all that good at it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


I read this headline on CNN.COM today (2/7/12)

“Greek unions set to strike over new austerity measures” Frankly, I do not see how this will help the Greek situation. The way out of financial trouble is to reduce spending and increase productivity. The union’s best weapon the strike; reduces productivity. And this reduction in productivity is being called to NOT reduce spending. This does not surprise me.

While union protection of workers jobs is admirable; it is a distinct handicap and expense for the employer. One problem that is overlooked is that within a union, it becomes much more difficult to rid the organization of people who are not working out. As a direct result, the ability to improve the quality of any organization is jeopardized, if not impossible. This is an issue worth fighting over. People and organizations will fight over limited resources more than any other reason.

Unions have bankrupted plenty of companies in the past. The additional expense in direct overhead and indirect productivity loss and re-direction will finish any private organization that is not in a dominate position within it’s industry. Companies are efficient. It does not take all that much to drive ANY private company into bankruptcy. As a general rule, unions do not believe what they are told about the financial position of the parent company or government body. They are paid to get more for their members or to at least hold on to as much as they can. It is only natural in that position to not believe much from what they hear from the opposition, except what they want to hear. This is not a cooperative incentive, but a hostile one that cannot benefit the organization overall, in the near term or long terms.

The Greece situation is one of disbelief and human stubbornness. What I mean by this is that humans can fall into the trap of wanting to deprive others from something just because they did not or cannot have access to the same thing. This is as if the unions don’t believe that Greece will default. And even if they DO default, then the price will be spread around more evenly, or ‘fairly’ instead of just on the union membership. Once again, this depends upon what you mean by ‘fair’.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Loss of the republic

Do you believe that the government of Greece is stable? The financial stress that Greece is under can only be a great stress upon the government itself. Just look at other countries in Europe that are in financial trouble. Nice, stable governments as well. Even though the United States is not as far along in our financial trouble that these countries in Europe are, we are well on our way. And if we continue down this path, we can expect violence and instability within our governmental system as well. And this is only one of the reasons why I am fearful for the longevity of our great Republic. In a post dated October of 2010, I outlined another reason.

(Posted 10/30/10)

I guess that much additional stress has been added this election cycle because I do not see the leadership of this country as responding to the will of the people. Very few issues actually make it to the public's general notice. Republicans have wanted to place Social Security on a sounder financial basis since the 1980's. Twice it was proposed (Ronald Regan and George W. Bush) and both times the United States population said 'NO!'. I consider President Clinton to have been a moderate for just this reason. The U.S. public said 'NO!' in the 1994 Health Care debate, and he backed off. The fact that the American public said 'NO!' this past February on Health Care (Again) and the U.S. Congress said "yes" and did it anyway is dangerous. This is where we can lose the Republic.

This is why I am concerned about the loss of the Republic within my lifetime. Next time the Republicans get a vast majority, they can just carve up Social Security? Or better yet, why not just repeal Social Security altogether? If that can't be done, then something major is wrong with our legal system. Or else we lose the Republic because it would take dictatorial power to make the necessary changes.

Both are losing scenarios. Not to mention that we have a major external war brewing that in a few years is going to get out of control. Wars NEVER stay stable. They may be stable for periods of time, but they NEVER stay that way forever. It is one of the few times the word is true. In any case, the next few years will be decisive if we are going to prevent the change of the Republic that can’t be reversed.

End Post.

We may be too late. That “fundamental change” may have already occurred. We should be able to see within the next 5 to 10 years.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


The back of Mark Levin’s book, LIBERTY and TYRANNY has a quote from Abraham Lincoln. (1864)

“We all declare for liberty, but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called the same name—liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names--liberty and tyranny.“

Hence, the title of the book.

Mark Levin is pointing out that spreading the wealth is called liberty. But the meaning is that some men do as they please with other men and the product of other men’s labor. (Slavery) This is a major objective of the Democrat party and President Obama in making the ‘rich’ ‘pay their fair share’. And while I am talking about definitions, I am reminded of President Clinton when he was squirming about not having sex with an intern. “It depends upon how you define IS.” And he is EXACTLY right. EVERYTHING depends upon how you define words. President Obama’s definition of the words he says is entirely different than the way that I define the words that he is using. On top of this, he is constantly comparing himself with other, past Presidents.

I really like his comparing himself with President Truman. I wonder how President Obama defines the phrase: “The buck stops here”? Certainly not the way that I understood what President Truman meant. President Truman took responsibility for his and his administration’s decisions. President Obama is constantly blaming everyone else. The mess he inherited from President Bush. The American public has been a ‘little lazy’ these past few decades. President Obama’s definition of Liberty is to take from those who have made money ‘Rich’ and give it to others who did not earn it. This represents my country and me? We are in BIG trouble if we as a people can’t see what is going on and make corrections before it is too late.