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August 27, 2005

Greenspan: US heading for housing price crash

"WALL STREET shuddered yesterday after Alan Greenspan, the United States’ central banker, warned American homebuyers that they risk a crash if they continue to drive property prices higher.

"He said that the US house-price spiral had become an economic imbalance, threatening stability like the country’s trade gap or its budget deficit." Article

I even caught a few minutes of financial guru Suze Orman warning about the poor quality of buyers by pointing out the fact that 61% of homes bought in California are interest only mortgages.

Greenspan is a master of understatement; it takes a lot for him to become alarmed. So take heed. Such a crash is probably several years away. It was in 1996 when he coined the term "irrational exuberance" with regards to the stock market. It crashed in 2000.

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 08:00 AM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2005

Painkillers can cause fatal stomach bleeding

Approximately one third of all hospitalizations and deaths related to gastrointestinal bleeding can be attributed to the use of aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs) painkillers like ibuprofen, a study in Spain suggests. Moreover, up to one third of these painkiller-related incidents may be due to low-dose aspirin. Article

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 06:32 PM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2005

Machiavelli and U.S. Politics Part 3

"In words that are echoed in the mendacity of today’s political class, Machiavelli enthusiastically endorsed lying." Article

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 11:36 AM | Comments (0)

Saudi wild card

"The last thing the United States needs right now is another conflict in the Mid East to deal with, but unfortunately America's key ally in that troubled region is showing signs that they are on the brink of a civil war." Article

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 09:16 AM | Comments (0)

August 20, 2005

Unfair and unbalanced media reporting

"As I watched the extensive, plainly sympathetic coverage of Jewish settlers being evicted from their Gaza homes, I couldn't help but take note once again of the striking double standard applied by American news media as well as the U.S. government.

I cannot recall any sympathetic coverage of Palestinians being evicted from their homes. No interviews with weeping mothers or fathers. No discussions of whether the evictions were right or wrong. This is obviously a deliberate policy on the part of America's television networks, for after all, they had 4,170 opportunities to report on Palestinian evictions since September 2000. That's how many homes were destroyed, and, of course, doesn't count the orchards and olive trees bulldozed by the Israeli army or Israeli settlers." Article

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 09:58 AM | Comments (0)

The China-Russia-Iran axis

"The building of an extra-US alliance is really an anti-US alliance, motivated by frustration over 10 to 15 years of dominance which shows little evidence of consensus building. The US officials have taken the position that the world's lone superpower DOES NOT NEED approval by other nations. Well, guess what! The world response is to attempt to gradually isolate the United States and to operate on vital strategically important matters independently, with no consultation or cooperation." Article

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 08:40 AM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2005

Why Iraq?

"By effectively controlling the region, the U.S. government would attain several of its cherished ends. First, it would eliminate or greatly diminish the threats posed to Israel by countries such as Syria and Iran. Second, it would control much of the oil and gas extraction and transportation in a region believed to be richly endowed with untapped deposits of those prized fossil fuels. Third, it would butt up against the Russians and the Chinese, excluding them from hegemony or substantial influence in the lands of the Great Game. Fourth (but merely incidental, you should understand), important supporters of the Bush team would make tons of money: Halliburton, Bechtel, Chevron, Unocal, Shell, and the rest of the good old boys, not to mention the arms suppliers and the mercenaries." Article

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 07:40 PM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2005

Machiavelli and US politics, Part 2

"Once we understand Machiavelli’s dismal view of humanity, it is easier to understand the ethical universe in which he operates. Machiavelli opens his discussion of princely virtues by immediately discarding them. His explanation is that virtues lack utility and are merely a product of the imagination." Article

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 08:58 PM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2005

The Greenspan option

The Federal Reserve has been feeding the current inflationary cycle since about 1948. The manipulation can only continue for so long until it is overtaked by reality. This cat is running out of lives. Article

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 06:16 PM | Comments (0)

Oil and politics

The rapid increases in gasoline prices has brought news stories about the world running out of oil. If that was true, prices would have not increased so fast. The increases have more to do with the instability of the Middle East. Article

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 05:27 PM | Comments (0)

The war habit

"Presidents have led the United States into wars most often on bad information or bad faith, yet Americans always seem willing to be taken in again." Article

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 07:12 AM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2005

The Da Vinci Code brouhaha

The book was written as a fictional thriller. I repeat: fictional thriller. It became a best seller. And now it is being made into a movie starring Tom Hanks and directed by Ron Howard, both of whom made a career out of being non-offensive.

To hear from some of these religious groups, you would think the author Dan Brown was a renowned religious scholar challenging established orthodoxy. These people have a phobia about anything unorthodox making an impression on popular consciousness. They give an impression that their beliefs are sacrosanct, not to be tampered with out of fear it might offend the great mighty one. Or could it be that they are unsecure about their faith bleeding to death from thousands of tiny wounds?

This article from Christianity Today is almost comical for how it debunks a 'fictional thriller.' The book didn't interest me until they made so much noise about it.

A little history. Up until the early 60s, the Catholic Church published a blacklist. They abandoned it because the list had a popularizing effect. If the past is any guide, the movie is assured of being a box office hit.

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 07:43 PM | Comments (0)

Principles of Morality

New article for usbible.com. Principles of Morality

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 03:01 PM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2005

Machiavelli and US politics

"The infamous reputation of The Prince is puzzling, however, because it appears to be a source of perpetual inspiration in Washington, D.C. It defines the actions, if not the rhetoric, of that city’s politicians and their army of supporters, dependents, and fawning sycophants." Article

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 06:54 PM | Comments (0)

Hitler's Pope

"Long-buried Vatican files reveal a new and shocking indictment of World War II's Pope Plus XII: that in pursuit of absolute power he helped Adolf Hitler destroy German Catholic political opposition, betrayed the Jews of Europe, and sealed a deeply cynical pact with a 20th-century devil." Article

There is also a book version of Hitler's Pope

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 01:04 PM | Comments (0)

The Christopher Columbus you didn't know

We all know what teachers taught us about Columbus in grade school. October 10th has been set aside to remember him this year. That was the sanitized version. After you read the unsanitized version, you won't find much to like about him. Article
This remind me of a good book I read last year: Lies My Teacher Told Me

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 12:57 PM | Comments (0)

The inflation mystery

"As the public remains asleep, central bankers around the world continue to destroy the purchasing power of money by steadily increasing its quantity. Inflation is not a mystical residue of an economic or business cycle. It is simply manufactured by central bankers at their own "sweet" will." Article

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 07:54 AM | Comments (0)

August 14, 2005

How corporations inflate earnings

"Corporate America is coming to the point of having to face its own set of realities. First of all, merging does not improve profits if the market itself is weak. Lacking real investment in plant and equipment, long-term growth is less likely today than before the merger mania and the growing trade deficit. Coupled with this is an expanding obligation for pension liabilities among large corporations

"The problem of deceptive reporting isn’t limited to the government. Corporations do the same thing." Article

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2005

No-Win War

"I heard a lecture by an Army psychologist who contended that after 90 days of combat, the casualty rate was 98 percent. Those not wounded physically were wounded psychologically. The other 2 percent were psychopaths." Continued

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 10:21 AM | Comments (0)

Fantasy money

Richard Russell has been writing an investment newsletter since 1959. This is the way he sizes up the world economy.

"What have they done to us? What have we allowed them to do to us? The central banks of the world, under Fed leadership, have huffed and puffed and blown up the global economy like some outlandish, unbelievable giant balloon. Credit has been extended beyond anything ever seen before in human history. And it's been both glorious and ominous. Glorious because it's fended off corrections (bear markets) and ominous because eventually the fantasy must collapse in the face of reality." Continued

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 09:58 AM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2005

U.S. trade gap up to $58.8 billion in June

I have stressed in earlier entries that the economy is running on debt. The trade gap reflects America's growing debt with foreign countries. The Federal Reserve has to keep expanding the money supply to allow for debt to grow to allow for the economy grow. When it stops nobody knows.

The worrisome trends in the U.S. trade sector showed no signs of abating in June, as the deficit with China and the thirst for imported oil hit new records, the government reported Friday.

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 01:24 PM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2005

Economics for the Citizen, Part 2

Which is the best method of resolving conflict over what’s produced, how and when it’s produced, and who’s going to get it? Among the methods for doing so were the market mechanism, government fiat, gifts, or violence. The answer is that economic theory can’t answer normative questions

Economics for the citizen

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 08:46 PM | Comments (0)

Migrating toward Mediocrity

You say your falling behind with you bills. Cheer up buddy, you're not alone. Migrating toward mediocrity by Dan Denning

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 08:38 PM | Comments (0)

August 09, 2005

Federal spending recklessness

www.nationalpriorities.org has a host of intelligible information on federal spending. I've picked out some for a quick read. There are more at the site if you are still curious.

cost of Iraq war
federal deficits and surpluses
World military spending
Public debt
Public debt as a percentage of GNP

It would be an understatement to say that this information doesn't inspire confidence about the federal government's ability to manage money. And to think, their revenue is tax free.

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 08:41 PM | Comments (0)

Tons of debt

The US Commerce Department has released its retail sales report. Retail sales jumped 9.6% from last year. This is what one of our favourite economists Mr. Kurt Richebacher wrote about this: "Overall credit skyrocketed by $US 2,976.1 Billion, close to $US 3 TRILLION, at annualized rate". As The Privateer itself has said on many past occasions, close to one-third of the US economy is entirely credit generated, i.e. borrowed into existence. Were this enormous credit expansion to come to a stop, the US economy would contract by 30%!

Bill Buckler

I check with Investment Rarities for reports like these.

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 08:20 PM | Comments (0)

Washington imperialism

"And we should go home without even being asked. As long as we play the game of empire, we are both bankrupting and corrupting ourselves. No empire in the history of the world has ever lasted beyond a few centuries. While the president plays his futile fiddle tune of spreading democracy, our domestic problems multiply. The debt piles up. The trade deficit piles up. Money, manpower and resources are gobbled up by the world's largest military-industrial bureaucracy. Staggering deficits are growing in terms of future obligations for Social Security and Medicare." Doomed Empire

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 06:19 AM | Comments (0)

August 08, 2005

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

This is an advertisement, but it brings into focus the many ways in which government statisticians make the economy look better then it is. How the Fed Is Leading Us to Financial Ruin

In another report, Mark Thornton applies statistics and sees leaks in the housing bubble. Is the Housing Bubble Popping?

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 06:13 PM | Comments (0)

The Neocons' Childish Theory


One of my favorite pundits, Charley Reese, says it with simple eloquence.

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 08:51 AM | Comments (0)

Presidential treason

Iraq hammers president's poll ratings

The federal government calls it the Department of Defense. In practice, it's been corrupted into the Department of Offense. No one argues about the moral right of a nation to defend itself. Leaving aside the argument about whether the president lied or not, invading another nation is an undertaking capable of producing catastrophic results; the standard of proof should be unimpeachable. When no "Weapons of Mass Destruction" could be found, the president changed the reasons for invading to an exercise in building a democratic nation. It was a face saving excuse for which too many American readily accepted.

Public support for his misadventure in Iraq has sunk to 34%. It should be zero. This man and his cronies are getting away with mass murder. The mass murder of our soldiers and the mass murder of Iraqis. He should be impeached from office and put on trial for war crimes.

America is composed of almost 300 million private citizens. It's managerial bureacracy is located in Washington DC. This country is being badly managed and Americans have been entirely too tolerant. Let us not forget this distinction between America and its leadership.

Posted by Ray Hewitt at 08:38 AM | Comments (0)