Friday, May 25, 2012
There is an article in today's news with the headline, "World's tiniest artificial heart saves baby's life." Doesn't that, in a nutshell, explain exactly what is wrong with our medical system? From all the evidence that I have seen firsthand or read about, every single patient who has ever, ever applied to our medical system for help, either has died, or has the ultimate prognosis that they will die. Every single one. Not one life has ever been "saved". Not one. Do we actually need to remind our doctors, pharmacies, hospitals, nurses, clinics, and everybody that they are not God? The other day, I went to go see my doctor about my hypothyroidism. This is an old, well-understood disability which modern medicine can easily and successfully counter. Of course, the problem originated on account of other treatments that other doctors prescribed for me, many years ago, but we won't even go into that issue right now. This visit was a waste of my time, my gas, and my insurance company's money, because prior to the visit, the doctor's office had failed to send out an order for testing the TSH levels in my blood. The physician's assistant who attended to me did not apologize at all for their oversight. Instead, she chose to make an issue out of my blood pressure, which came in at 140/80. If she had checked my records, she would have found that my pressure has been quite close to those numbers for the last 20 years or more. If she had consulted her textbooks, she would have read that older people normally have a slightly higher systolic number. When she suggested that it needed close monitoring and possibly drug treatment, I got a little testy with her. This was unfortunate on my part. I was caught by surprise by the sneak attack. It is annoying enough to have to drag myself into their office, several times a year, to arrange for a drug regimen which has not changed for ten years and has no indication whatever that it will change, simply so that they can cover their backsides and make a little extra money on the side. I didn't need the diversion, at that point in my journey. But the incident gave me pause to reflect again on where I stand on all of this. First and foremost, I think it is pretty reasonable to predict that I will, at some point, die. As far as I know, medical science has never cured even one person from death. Not ever. Not one. I suspect that if that were to occur, that the news would get out and people would know about it, so I am pretty confident about my statements. Second of all, I am rather fond of my faculties. Not only do I enjoy communicating the blather of my mind through the use of my hands or mouth, but I enjoy walking, cooking, splitting firewood, bending over to tie my shoes, learning a new language, playing the saxophone, wiping my own bum after I take a dump, and a host of other activities. However, the strong impression that I get from our medical community is that their approved, or preferred, way for people to dies is to very, very slowly lose all of their faculties for interacting with this world, until they become totally immobilized, and stay that way until they become penniless and their insurance refuses to cover their bills anymore. At that point, it is finally okay for them to die. Sadly, however, that does not happen to be my preferred scenario. Both of my grandfathers died of heart attacks before they were 55 years old. I figure that I have enjoyed, so far, 8 extra years, and blessed years they have been, and I am grateful to God for that time. But dying of a heart attack, with a sharp, quick pain and then its all over, has considerable appeal to me. I am not likely to adopt any of the behavior patterns of plenty of those around me to hasten the event, morbid smoking, eating, drinking, a slovenly and slothful lifestyle, extra salt and sugar at every possible occasion provided in lieu of real taste by all the purveyors of prepared food in this culture. However, the chances of my willingly taking blood pressure medication, ever in my life, can be found at the same levels of magnitude as the chances of my, well, trying to hijack an airplane with my trusty fingernail clippers which they took away from me last trip.....
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
It is beyond tedious to point this out. I have been hammered recently by most of my friends about my stance vis a vis homosexual marriage. I think I have written about this already. But the strength and vehemence of their words and actions have been enough to drive me to preferring solitude, though I love them all dearly. Pity that Christians get so heated up about this, or drinking, or pornography, or dancing, or praying in schools, other stuff which has so little to do with the main message of Jesus or even the old testament. In the meantime, little things like the sixth commandment go completely ignored and even their government, which the people insist is "under God", spends around a third of its entire outlays on systematically violating. Here is a cute little video I found that gives a pretty good overview of the situation:
Sunday, May 20, 2012
When JPM reached 44 I bought a number of put options against it. Maybe just because they are some of my favourite people. I noticed also that someone, probably an insider, actually bought 125 May 34's on the same day, for around ten cents each. Obviously that someone had advance notice of the fat tail debacle that came out a few days later. I have also been holding shares of the triple-short ETF TZA and the double short oil ETF DUG, despite having lost quite a bit on them in the past two years. This time its been paying off nicely. I shorted Google on Friday morning, mainly because its a consumer stock and nobody else has been panning it, also because Cramer recommended it. But it fell enough for me to close it out for a nice little gain. I closed most of the shorts on Friday afternoon anticipating the potential for a bounce next week. The past two years, the markets have been rising, and rising, on no real good news whatsoever. Personal incomes overall are declining. The percentage of able-bodied adults who have jobs is continuing to fall, alarmingly. Gasoline and electricity consumption continue to fall, sharply. I can forgive myself for having been short and lost money. It strongly appears, in retrospect, that what has been happening has been a huge inflow of money fleeing European banks ... I have seen estimates of 1.9 trillion or so ....that has had an enormous impact on equities and it has also aided the Fed to keep Treasury notes artificially low. But the winds are changing across Europe. the Germans are having second thoughts about trying to "buy" the entire continent. The populace is starting to actively resist what the mainstream media calls "austerity" but what the citizens call outright theft of all assets by the bankers.. Recent elections put in place people who are more likely to choose default (it has been the only possible outcome for quite a long time now but as I have said before, everybody is naked so no one wants to say so ....). One can already smell the riots, the strikes, the winds of revolution and war, on a continent so accustomed to them.... The US bankers are still trying to deny the implications, that a collapse of the Euro will mean a collapse of the European banking system AND the US banks are holding far too many sovereign bonds derivatives which will go along with it, and the insurance they think they have hedged with is not worth the paper it is printed on. Meaning that when Europe goes, the US goes too. So we got a brief taste of that with Dimon's recent embarrassment, but that is only the tip of the iceberg, and most people in the US are dancing on the deck of the Titanic. Bernanke and the Fed are still stinging from all the criticism about printing money and rising inflation, especially food, gas, and medicine. Operation Twist is ending soon with no concrete plans for new operations. The perennial debt ceiling fight is next up on the agenda and its likely to hit a few weeks sooner than anyone wanted, right in the middle of the final presidential election push. Those will be enough distraction to allow the stock market and the overall economic picture to continue to decline all summer. I have no long positions at all and don't plan on taking any for quite awhile. I expect to continue with potshot shorts. No need to be greedy here, I'm liable to end up being the only one anywhere with any money, anyway. Its just like duck hunting, I don't need the whole flock, just one or two, any will do. Eventually the Fed will bow to the pressure and start printing again, and then I can buy like picking up after a parade .... Meanwhile, my garden continues to thrive. Global warming really makes things very green, and an abundance of carbon dioxide is extremely healthy for plants. This year its gone beyond yuppieville to actually having an impact on my grocery bill. I recently tapped a major major storage of fresh water. I am busy gathering firewood for the winter. I am cutting huge rounds and leaving them in that form, I won't split them until just-in-time because the thieves are too lazy and fat to deal with them in that form. People are so terribly boring and predictable, I am surrounded by grasshoppers singing "Don't worry, be happy!" to me just like the ones in Aesop's fable thousands of years ago .... I continue to lay in supplies for the coming winter, and enjoy having the music in the background while I work ... but all you folks, when it gets cold and you have no food or water, you'd best have some gold when you come to my door begging for help ....
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Friday, May 4, 2012
I am not an economist. In fact, I am not even a college graduate. I do not sport any BA or BS after my name, no more-of-the-same, no piled-higher-and deeper. My epigram never appears in the mainstream media, no one ever calls me up to get an "expert opinion" on anything. And there's apparently only a handful of folks who read my blog, although I do get a thumb or two from other sources. So, no one needs to take this comment to the jobs number this morning and in recent memory, as having any weight or any likelihood of changing the political landscape or anyone's personal behavior. I just wanna say what I wanna say. The only number that counts, in today's job report from the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, is this one: 88 million. This is a record high for this number. You can find a chart of its progress, since 1975, at this website: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/its-official-st-louis-feds-not-labor-force-data-officially-chart This is the number of able-bodied adult US residents who did not have a salaried income last month. That's a lotta folks, seems to me. An awful lot.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Those of us who have been descrying the actions of central authority and the central banks, appear to have some egg on our faces at this point. The mainstream media and the Keynesian doublethink anal-ists are gloating over strong and wide evidence that the U.S. economy may, indeed be recovering from the financial crisis of 2008 and it may, indeed, be decoupled from the collapsing European community and the crashing far East. Not only have our repeated calls for disasters been made into a mockery but our own pockets and investments have suffered as we certainly did put our wealth where our writings were. So what happened? Were we so wrong? I don't think so. The evidence strongly suggests that Europe is sinking, that their union cannot be saved, that each nations' separate economies are heading into the tank and dissolution is inevitable. Once their central currency is abandoned, all sorts of derivatives and synthetic financial instruments and the like will suddenly be meaningless and on account of all the interdependence, all of the major banks all over the world will be wiped out (although I certainly don't put it past them to maintain a veneer of solvency for at least a little while longer. Recent events have shown the vested parties to have developed the sine qua non of mendacity and disingenuousness in the whole history of mankind.) What has happened is that the upper middle classes of all the European nations, reading very well the handwriting on the wall (after all, they have seen this show before, within the last century), have been pulling their money out of their banks. And what to do with it? While some have invested in gold, silver, lead, and other precious metals, many have looked around and seen the U.S., with its incredibly obese military machine, to be the least, or at least the last, threatened, and hence the safest place for their wealth to be stored. Estimates of the total amount moved across the pond in the last two years hover around 2 Trillion ($2,000,000,000,000.00), eclipsing TARP, ZIRP, and even QE2. A great deal of it has gone into U.S. Treasury notes, notwithstanding the horrible credit rating of the U.S. taxpayers, because its still better than most alternatives. Another great deal of it has gone into U.S. equities, which are still offering decent yields in these days and times. What next? The inevitable has been postponed. The proverbial can is way, way down the proverbial road. That much is pretty clear. How much longer can this go on? I have no idea. Mankind's ability to fool himself has to be his crowning achievement on this planet. One remembers, again, that in the year 1802 their existed a country on the mainland in Europe which called itself "The Holy Roman Empire." though its true nature was more akin to "The parochial pigsty" and there hadn't been anything remotely resembling ancient Rome for over a millennium. Interesting times, what?