Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Biggest Event of 2008

2008 will be seen as a pivotal year in future American history books. Not for the economic problems, as this is old news and what we are now seeing are simply the symptoms. 2008 will be seen as the year when the text of the Constitution was openly abandoned via the Obama birth certificate issue.

The Constitution was written by Conservatives for Conservatives, and Conservatives still represent the strongest segment of American society, far and away. The national glide path is heading towards a rock face, and when the crash comes, and the gyroscope returns to equilibrium, the Constitution is a logical thing for Americans to rally around, in whatever form they choose to rally.

The incoming Administration will be able to blame President Bush for probably two years, and will then become unpopular. 2008 is the year that the court refused to hear the case about the Executive not meeting Constitutional muster (a Constitutional Professor, no less). And in theory, or in practice, all government actions taking place after January 20th are arguably unconstitutional.

Fields to Enter: Nuclear power, electrical distribution.

Investments: Gold, rural real estate, especially farmland, metal commodities of various shapes, sizes, and calibers. Any land in Wyoming, Utah, or Colorado.

Predicted Event of 2009

Russian military move to boost oil prices. Handicaps as follows:

Arctic petroleum claims: 3:1
Provoke Israel and then Invade Iran to ‘restore order’: 6:1
Threaten Alaska: 12:1
More Work in the Caucuses: 2.5:1
Coordinate with Iran and Block the Strait of Hormuz: 5:1
Threaten to Halt Oil Exports: 1.5:1
Establish Base in Venezuela: 4.5:1

Wishing all who read this a Happy New Year. Should be an interesting one.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Great Moments in Illinois Oration

Performing my duty as a Citizen, and as a fan of the idea of a functioning Representative Republic, I have created a transcript of Representative Bobby Rush’s talk today. It may be useful for future forensic historians, or perhaps those wishing to revisit voter eligibility in the event of a collapse of the economy.

In the case that YouTube survives, here is a video clip to verify my transcript. In case the internet does not survive, I think I’ll print this one out.

Roland Burris: “Come on up to the podium.”

Blago: “Bobby, do you want to say something?”

Representative Bobby Rush, Democrat, Illinois 1st District:

Good afternoon. Let me first of all thank God for this, this decision by Governor Blago. This is a good decision. Roland Burris is worthy. He has not in 20 years of public service had one iota of taint on his record. As a public servant, he is an esteemed member of this state and of this community.

I, my prayers, have been answered because I pray thoroughly that the Governor would continue the legacy established by President Elect Obama and that the Governor will appoint an African-American to complete the term of President Obama.

Let me just remind you that there presently is no African American in the US Senate. Let me remind you that the State of Illinois and the people of the State of Illinois, in their collective wisdom, have sent 2 African Americans to the US Senate. That makes the difference. This is just not a State of Illinois matter, although the power to appoint in Roland Burris would be representative of the State of Illinois.

But indeed by this decision it has tremendous national importance. National importance.

We need to have not just one African American in the US Senate; we need to have many African Americans in the US Senate. So I applaud the Governor in his decision and I would ask you not to hang or lynch the appointee as you try to castigate the appointer. Separate, if you will, the appointee from the appointer. Roland Burris is worthy. He is the only one, I believe, that can stand in the gap for these tumultuous times and gather the confidence; we are establishing the confidence of the people of the State of Illinois.

As far as certification is concerned, I think that the Secretary of State acted prematurely, uh, in issuing the statement. I’m not sure whether or not he has any authority to actually certify or not. That’s up to the lawyers. I’m not a lawyer. But I do know that he should be concerned about how the people of the State of Illinois will react to him not certifying this particular individual, Roland Burris, to replace the President Elect.

As far as my colleagues in the Congress, then I intend, er, we intend to persuade them or to challenge them, or to do whatever, beg them, whatever it may take, to get them to reverse their decision. Roland Burris stands head and shoulders above most elected officials in this nation and so there is no rhyme or reason that he should not be seated in the US Senate.

This is a matter of national importance. There is no African Americans in the US Senate and I don’t think that anyone, any US Senator, who is sitting in the Senate right now, wanna go on record to deny one African American from being sitted, seated in the US Senate.

I don’t think they want to go on record doin’ that. And so I intend to take that argument to the Congressional Black Caucus. I intend to take that argument to the Senators. I intend to start with our own Senator, Senator Durbin, who is a friend of mine. And I am sure that he will stand to be reasoned with. Thank you.

Monday, December 29, 2008


"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."

- Edmund Burke, 1770

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Barack Obama

President Obama will be my Commander in Chief. For the first time in my life I did not know who I was going to vote for when I went into the booth. The way I saw it, the financial bubble was going to hit the fan in the next four years, and having a Socialist-leaning leader during bad times would cause a Conservative backlash in the next election.

My conscience wanted to vote for the Constitution Party. But I ended up voting for McCain, because of the Supreme Court, and a worry that things might get very bad and a man with at least a marginally similar worldview as I would be at the helm.

Politically, Obama might turn out to be OK because he seems to be an opportunistic pragmatist. He will probably make decisions based on political self interest rather than political ideology. He’s got the left and will need to move right. In retrospect, I am pleased with a President Obama.

But the Presidency is a tough job and Obama has never been tested. I remember that in my first tough job, people started making me very angry. I became bitter for a while. It wasn’t that the people had changed, it was me, feeling the pressure because of the real consequences of my actions, with everybody watching.

I am concerned that Obama will struggle with the pressure of the office. This is not a good sign.

"All right guys. That's enough. You've got a shot. Leave us alone. Come on guys. Get back on the bus,"

A Hawaii vacation is a relatively stress-free event. The job doesn’t get any easier. The irony of the Presidency is that no well-qualified honest candidate would want the job.

Russia is suffering with low oil prices. Putin will test Obama to make prices rise. I suspect it will be militarizing a claim to Arctic oil.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Who Is Cerberus?

Cerberus is a group of institutional investors headed by Steve Feinberg. Steve Feinberg seems to be kind of weird, and appears to be a life-long recluse. His Wikipedia page was probably written by himself. He refuses to be photographed, but was forced to after he walked away from a signed contract with United Rentals, and had to testify in court. Feinberg attended ROTC in college but did not serve in the armed forces.

Bush’s Treasury Secretary, John Snow, is the Chairman of Cerberus. Cerberus is a Greek word for a multi-headed dog that guards the gates of hell. What kind of mind would choose to name his company Cerberus?

Dan Quayle, H.W.’s, vice president, runs a division of Cerberus and Donald Rumsfeld is a Client. Cerberus owns 51% of GMAC, which recently qualified as a bank and is receiving TARP funding. Cerberus owns Chrysler, which just got billions of taxpayer dollars.

Cerberus is busy shuttering paper mills in Wisconsin.

Brick Oven does not trust Steve Feinberg, or his corporation. We call for strict tracking of all government funding that has been allocated to companies owned by Cerberus. Chrysler, being a privately-held company does not have the financial reporting requirements as GM or Ford. This smells bad.

Friday, December 26, 2008

'Strategic Shocks'

The only refuge left for those who prophesy the downfall of the State governments is the visionary supposition that the federal government may previously accumulate a military force for the projects of ambition.
-James Madison

Federalist 46 is a very important document. Madison lived in a time of powerful Monarchs, and feared the emergence of a strong Executive in the United States and what this Executive could do to the liberty of men. Madison's Constitution was designed to counter this threat by arming the population.

Madison did not envision the spread of voting rights to women, and recipients of government aid programs. If he had, he might have written about the threat of the economic collapse of a bloated and corrupt democracy instead of the emergence of a strong Constitutional Executive. He probably would have also codified voter eligibility.

Nathan Freier seems to get it, despite his use of the word ‘operationalizing’. Here is an excerpt from an interesting paper (you have to click on the link to download and read).

'As a community, the defense establishment swears to protect and defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. DoD’s role in combating “domestic enemies” has never been thoughtfully examined. Thus, there is perhaps no greater source of strategic shock for DoD than operationalizing that component of the oath of service in a widespread domestic emergency that entails rapid dissolution of public order in all or significant parts of the United States.'

I guess it is comforting to know that this has not been considered, at least not openly. If I were asked the question of how to ethically ‘operationalize’ that component of the oath so many of us have taken in the economic collapse scenario, I’d say that the best way would be to openly admit that the Constitution, as it is currently being practiced, has proven itself to be economically unsustainable.

Then, in order to best support and defend the Constitution of the United States, that it should be suspended for a period of time, say six months. In this six months, the military could govern under a 28th Amendment:

In light of recent events, the military has temporarily taken control of the government. Amendments 11 through 27 of the Constitution are hereby canceled. Voter eligibility is hereby re-established in the spirit of that in place at our Founding, which shall be as follows:

(1) Men of lawful age, paying at least ten percent of their annual income to the federal government in the form of taxes, not including withholding, as evidenced by their 20xx tax return.

The military shall oversee a new election with these voter eligibility standards, at the soonest possible date, and seat new state and federal governments. The new Congress shall have the power to re-adopt and/or modify any of the cancelled Amendments, as they deem appropriate. It shall also have the power to codify new voter eligibility standards as it sees fit. The new Executive shall have the power to nominate replacements for all members of the existing Judiciary. The new Congress shall review and confirm these nominations in accordance with the United States Constitution.


The Constitution, as originally implemented, was designed by achievers, for achievers, and therefore encouraged achievement, to the benefit of all Americans. This system of government has created unprecedented levels of human freedom.

The Constitution, as currently amended, was changed by potentially well-intentioned lawyers, to spread political power to women and non-achievers, which, in practice, has bankrupted and corrupted the Founders’ system. This new system of government discourages achievement, and has led us to this point in our economic and political history.

This post in no manner advocates the breaking of any law. It simply suggests one alternative that the Army War College could explore as they debate the meaning of their oaths, in the scenario introduced by LCOL Freier.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Don't Doubt Me

Let the record reflect that Professor Roubini recently revised his estimate of banking losses from the sub-prime meltdown to $3 trillion.

Roubini said total credit losses resulting from the meltdown of the subprime mortgage market will be "closer to $3 trillion," up from his previous estimate of $1 trillion to $2 trillion.

In April, Brick Oven said this:

Goldman Sachs had estimated mortgage losses to be $300 billion. Actual losses to date have been 25% of $20 trillion, or $5 trillion, split between home equity and mortgage holders. My estimate of overall loss now exceeds $7 trillion, not counting the falling value of the dollar, which is a whole different subject.

We noted that half of the loss went to the banks, and half to home equity loss for homeowners, or a $3.5 trillion banking loss. Roubini will get here eventually. How do I get on TV?

On that note, Merry Christmas again. Tomorrow is a post that would have been inappropriate for this day.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

As we set up for resolutions, consider reading the Bible. Regardless of your belief system, the Bible is the foundation of Western civilization. And it is a very good book.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Herding is a natural human trait as men with similar DNA, when organized, will generally prevail over unorganized groups of men in times of crisis. This effectively acts to propagate the herding instinct. The value of the herding trait is lower in polite civil society, as there is less violence, and non-herding DNA is less-likely to be culled out of the pool by violence.

So my theory is that people whose minds evolved in violent cultures are naturally more likely to be attracted to ethnic gangs. This might explain why Mr. Uriel Oliva was flashing gang symbols while sitting on Santa’s lap. I also believe that graffiti is closely associated with this type of mind as a mechanism to mark territory.

Per this government gang document, 48% of gangs are black, and 43% of gangs are Hispanic. It is noted that Jamaicans side with African-Americans. The document mentioned Asian and white gangs, but did not indicate how the 9% remainder was split between the two groups.

It is also noted that the herding trait seems to be re-adopted in times of crisis. All white prisoners in the California prison featured on MSNBC were members of ethnocentric gangs and were officially segregated by race.
p.s. I’d add that Jews seem to me to be the ethnicity with the least amount of herding instinct. While they were able to act in unison after 1948 against the Arabs, and kicked butt, Israel’s attitudes towards Arabs and Persians seem largely suicidal today, to me at least. Also see the stuff Hollywood is putting out, and Columbia Law School with its ACLU achievements.

For such a gifted ethnic group, that has self-identified as a population for so many thousands of years, to make up less than one half of one percent of the world’s population, suggests that there is value in the herding instinct.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Win Me Over Barack

The high falutin’ lifestyle kind of grates on me after the populist campaign, but to each his own. You have run on a platform designed to expand the Democratic tent to include people like me, but I don’t believe you. I can be won over though. A President, truly dedicated to the well-being of Americans taking home a paycheck would do the following:

1. Repeal NAFTA. Place 30% tariffs on foreign made cars and a 10% tariff of cars made by corporations with >40% foreign ownership.*

2. As we have growing unemployment, the need for new immigrants is gone. Temporarily suspend legal immigration and deport those here illegally. Enforce existing immigration laws and build a fence.

I sent President Bush $25 in 2004. If you do these two things, I’ll send you $50. Failure to act in the spirit of the above will make me think that the loyalty to your former Spiritual Advisor is stronger than your loyalty to the man working a 60-hr week trying to provide for his family.

*Ambrose Evans makes an excellent point. The theoretical argument that protectionist policies hurt the US in the 1930s is based on the fact that the US was the world’s biggest exporter back then. Retaliatory protectionist policies then hurt American exports. As we have morphed into the world’s biggest importer, warring protectionism would benefit the American worker and economy in 2009.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Selective Reporting

The New York Times does a fairly decent job skewering President Bush on the housing collapse. But it leaves many facts unreported.

(1) Henry Paulson originated many of the CDOs during his tenure at Goldman Sachs. When the CDOs fell apart, Goldman was not holding many of them. Meaning to me, that he knew they were toxic before he put himself in as Treasury Secretary.
(2) Peter Orszag told Congress that taking Fannie-Freddie over would probably not cost the government anything, right before the vote. In truth, the cost will be in the trillions. It is possible that Orszag willfully misled Congress.
(3) The Board of Directors of Fannie-Freddie were responsible to oversee good business practices at these GSEs. In practice, these Directors oversaw the GSEs take over clearly bad loans at the end. These were willful actions and likely are fraudulent.

Brick Oven calls on the incoming Administration to launch an investigation into these three questionable actions.

Peter Orszag will lead the new Administration’s Office of Management and Budget.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


“The top U.S. military officer says that up to 30,000 new American troops could be sent to Afghanistan next year.”

I challenge any Obama supporters out there to give a reason why this is a good idea. The way I see it, resources are being wasted because of a bad rhetorical position in the debate with Hillary.

We should be disengaging from the Middle Eastern populations, not engaging. If we need a footprint, keep the men in the desert. But there is no oil to defend in Afghanistan.

p.s. Image success. Save as .bmp and images are recognized. Do not know what is wrong with .jpg.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Jobs Report

The Power Structure has spent the past fifty years diluting the labor pool, in order to lower wages. This has been done in two ways; (1) legal and illegal immigration of low-skill peoples and (2) elimination of tariffs. Tariffs have historically been around 30% until after WWII. Now they are neglibible.

The smart people may or may not have believed that this was sustainable. It is not. Without an industrial base, our system of entitlements cannot sustain itself. Less than seven percent of Americans now work in construction or manufacturing. Everything is theoretically built upon the foundation of this seven percent.

Our economic foundation continues to be eroded and the house is now shaking. Construction and manufacturing employment fell by over one percent last month alone. We got hit hard by the ice storm and lost a very large tree this week. This is fine by me since I can now have a bigger and brighter garden.

My guess is that the pension systems will begin to fall apart in the spring. Obama is really getting set up. I need to convince the wife about chickens.

p.s. My four-year old computer died and has just been replaced. When I try to publish a free picture I get this message:

•potato.jpg : Your image is corrupt or is in an unrecognized format.

So imagine a picture of a potato. I don’t know why this new computer cannot recognize free pictures.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Great Moments in American Gun Control

Common sense legislation was enacted by civil authorities to take away arms from felons. These felons agitated among their facilitators and had to be met with a strong response. The account of one of these trouble makers is captured in this link:

By this time many of the company had gathered around the captain at the hearing of the drum, where we stood, which was about half way between the meetinghouse and Buckman's tavern. Parker says to his men, 'Every man of you, who is equipped, follow me; and those of you who are not equipped, go into the meeting-house and furnish yourselves from the magazine, and immediately join the company.'

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I just haven’t had the inspiration to write anything. For some reason or another, the urge was there to buy a package of bratwurst and sauerkraut. It was very good.

As I like the idea of bratwurst more than the idea of four wives, here is an article by Spengler. Spengler is much more perceptive than me and a better writer too. This is a very good article:

The Failed Muslim States to Come

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Book Eight

“Our democracy is destroying itself because it misrepresented the right to liberty and equality. It taught the citizens to regard disrespect as a right, lawlessness as liberty, impertinence as equality and anarchy as enjoyment.”

Here is a Greek socialist organization’s response to growing resistance among the indigenous Greek population to immigration back in 2005. The socialists see immigrants as their ally because they assume that democracy is a permanent institution, which it never is.

Champions of worker’s rights, if they were smarter, would recognize that increasing the numbers of low-IQ populations depresses workers' wages, and raises the odds of a return to slavery or serfdom. These workers say:

“The truth is that more than 1,000,000 immigrants living in Greece cannot just be kicked out, nor does anyone (including the government) wish so.”

Which is, of course, wrong. With the exception of the recognition that the oligarchs benefit from the cheap labor, provided at the expense of those who would support socialist causes.

Socrates believed that democracy naturally yields to tyranny, and he lays out a good case for his theory in Plato’s Book 8 of Republic. But I think it is different in America, and we should consider ourselves lucky. We are resource independent, and have the legacy of the Founding Fathers as a reset position.

Socrates also argued that the most powerful faction in a democracy is not the ‘drones’, or the wealthy, but those people who actually do the work. This speaks well for our American future.

Friday, December 12, 2008

"I Want To Be Good"

And for those interested in comparing our current President with Danny from Caddyshack, all I can offer is this.

It is important to be prepared to be on your own as a family.

“Doing Right Counts Most”

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

The President has no business over-riding Congress, as well as American opinion as an aside, by burning another $14 billion on the automakers on his way out.

Our money was spent by an unchecked executive to kick the can down the road two months to avoid a headline. Nothing but another three Nimitz-class nuclear powered aircraft carriers.

An American President worried about his image should not give a commencement address at Texas A&M if he is unable to talk about his dad without tearing up.

History will judge George Bush very poorly. I am deeply disappointed with my outgoing President. You lost me George.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Eight Viewpoints

This is an interesting series of thoughts from Fortune magazine. But the interviewees are not allowed to speak freely, as Fortune magazine is a polite and proper forum. Credit to Rogers though, he is the exception in other forums. Things are worse than these eight people let on to for two reasons:

1. Americans in 1930 were largely independent, and federal spending on social programs was zero back then. Federal social spending today is nearly 70% of the budget and growing uncontrollably and unsustainably.
2. Americans are rapidly becoming dumber, both in terms of education quality and IQ.

The solution is, if the system fails, to re-adopt the 1789 Constitution. Voting eligibility should be tied to domestic real estate equity, say $10,000; or federal income tax paid, say $3,000 in an election year. These voter criteria would spread political power widely, but limit it to stakeholders. This is the most effective defense against tyranny.

Granting political power to welfare recipients, and Plato’s spendthrifts, is suicidal for a system of honest representative government. See Chicago.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


My first job was as a courier in the City of Chicago. It was fun and I got to deliver packages to Mayor Washington’s office. That impressed me at the time. We hired an ‘underprivileged’ co-worker as a part of some City program who turned out to have a nicer car than the boss, and ended up being a drug dealer.

Now I recognize that the Chicago power structure exists because of the nature of the electorate. Chicago resembles Central America-light. The reason the Chicago Police Department does not pursue local corruption is because the honest officers are not allowed to do so.

Chicago was 42% White, 34% Black, and 24% Hispanic in the year 2000 census. Yielding an electoral IQ of (0.42)(100) + (0.34)(85) + (0.24)(88) = 92.* The electoral IQ in 1789 was probably one-half of one standard deviation above the average of the population, or around 110.

A functioning democracy requires an intelligent, engaged electorate.

* data normalized to 100%.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Having a Job, and Things Like That

The point at which a boy becomes a man is usually that time when he gets himself into trouble that his parents cannot get him out of.

The point at which a man of the system tastes raw responsibility, and the accountability that comes with it, is when that system evaporates before his eyes.

“I had no contact with the governor or his office and so I was not aware of what was happening.” –44

“Obama Says He Had No Contact With Blagojevich on Senate Seat” -Bloomberg

That’s a really bad start Mr. President-elect. For future reference, absolutes on camera are to be avoided. The next decision is whether or not to retain the services of Mr. Fitzgerald in your Administration.

Strike, light, deep drag, hold, exhale. Deep drag, hold, exhale. Think. Think.

Smoking is outside Mr. President-elect, you can’t smoke in here.

Happy Belated Eid!

I forgot about the differences between the Islamic moon calendar and our boring sun calendar. That’s my excuse in any case.

4:89 They long that ye should disbelieve even as they disbelieve, that ye may be upon a level (with them). So choose not friends from them till they forsake their homes in the way of Allah; if they turn back (to enmity) then take them and kill them wherever ye find them, and choose no friend nor helper from among them.

Monday, December 8, 2008

That Piece of Paper

The Supreme Court’s decision to not review Obama’s legal eligibility for high office could be historic. There have been cases made that the 14th Amendment was not Constitutionally binding, but these cases can be argued either way.

I have no idea of how the country will act if the economy gets bad, but it can be expected that there would be movements within some states to ‘opt-out’ of unpopular national programs that would be imposed upon them.

Obama’s defense about his birth certificate (“this is not about that piece of paper”) leads me to believe he is not a naturalized Citizen. By the letter of the Constitution, this would make everything done by the Executive after 20JAN09, to be questionable in a very simple and understandable way.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

American Institutions

I had a drugged out college acquaintance who majored in ‘American Institutions’. He had his own view of this field of study. There are many different types of American Institutions though.

This is an article that says that things are looking pretty bad and, the NY Times’ posturing withstanding, they are. But America, I believe, will emerge from this stronger than ever. One reason is the people I’ve worked with, in my little bubble, both in the military and those who drive around with a company sticker on their pickup truck.

There is strength there among those who do the work. These people are everywhere if you choose to look. They pay the taxes and know what is going on. A second reason is that North America is resource independent, probably the only place left in the world that is.

These national assets are preserved in part by American Institutions that remain strong. This building witnessed the birth of some good ones. Throw in founding documents that aren’t going anywhere, and America remains a great place to live for those capable of appreciating, earning, and perhaps defending, what it offers.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Deep Thoughts

The only person dumber than a person buying a ten-year Treasury bill is the person purchasing a credit default swap option premium on a ten-year Treasury bill.

Microsoft says I need to capitalize the word 'Treasury'.

Inflation or Deflation?

Deflation at first.

[I was wrong on this in previous ramblings, my error was overestimating Brazil, China, Russia, and India’s economies’ capability of affording and consuming world energy resources. Energy consumption is down, and the increasing energy prices I had expected, were not to be… for now.]

The Administration will consider this deflation, or possibly lack of significant inflation, to be license to print and spend money on non-productive things, leading to inflation, then massive inflation, and the eventual destruction of the dollar as we currently know it.

The above chart is interesting, but understates the debt. The debt is $50-60 trillion in unfunded liabilities, plus $10 trillion in hard debt, plus the recent trillions.

Credit Default Swap costs on the ten year Treasury are up 2500% in the past year.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Chart of the Day

This graph indexes the price of housing to the price of other goods over time. The Case-Schiller Index is weighted towards population centers, so the swing shown is exaggerated by, lets guess 20%.

But a price correction below the baseline ‘100’ value is logical, lets guess that this correction equals the 20% urban exaggeration. This modeling yields a national housing value drop of 40%, a bigger drop than our previous estimate of 30%.

This would indicate a banking loss of $4 trillion, plus the administrative costs of foreclosure and resale, pushing the number to probably $6 trillion.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Bill's Hierarchy of Human Interactions

9:29 Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture and they believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.

I’ve operated in all of these arenas, in descending order of pleasantness and productivity:

Legal Action
Physical Threat

Everybody makes money if you can operate in the top three tiers. This is not easy and requires restraint and compromise. Everybody loses money or worse in the bottom two. You are lucky to break even in the middle three.

This is why Christian nations did well in the 20th Century, while Muslims, other than royalty, remain dirt poor.

By the way, Ahmedinejad has given us the scripture.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Police Chief Isom Is Here to Help

Homicides are up 30% in St. Louis over the past year, and Alderman Charles Troupe tells his constituents to arm themselves because the police force is dysfunctional. The Alderman is concerned that things will get worse as the economy suffers.

Police Chief Isom is here to help though. And he has a blog. Funny, comments are not allowed. His advice:

Chief Dan Isom told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he understands Troupe's frustration but doesn't support citizens arming themselves.

Carrying guns, he said, is not a "recipe for a less violent community."

Thanks Chief. So noted.

Central America

I am convinced that the Central American political model is the goal of our current political class. In this model, the masses elect one of two interchangeable parties, the leaders of which then cut a deal with the oligarchs. There is no middle class to speak of and the rich pay no income taxes, there is instead a national sales tax.

This is why I support limiting voting rights as our Founders did. Life isn’t fair, but things are more fair if 25% of the population call the shots, instead of four men. Wages in Central America are $3/day, rising to $9/day in Belize. That would be a change.

I believe that Belize is better off than its neighbors because of the impression of stability provided by access to the English legal system. The Queen is the official head of state. That and the fact that Belize is an oil exporting nation.

I was able to see some of the first light sweet crude to come out of Spanish Lookout (good story) a few years ago and have boozed it up with the oil execs’ private pilots. From what I hear there is a lot of oil down there. Farmers I know mix the stuff coming out of the ground directly into their diesel tanks.

As Americans continue to overeat and assume that a bankrupt government will take care of their futures, there is a greater sense of realism down there. There is what I believe (hope) to be a critical mass of investment that will maintain stability when the SHTF. Nobody expects anything from the Belizean government.

My loyalties will remain with the US and its Constitution, but note some real estate deals elsewhere. I’d recommend Placencia Peninsula if you are a water type and Stann Creek District if you are an agricultural-acreage type.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

$4.5 Trillion

$4.5 trillion, the amount of these financial shakedowns, is a lot of money. A new Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, built in the US, costs $4.5 billion. India is not burdened by the EEOC and other layers of stupid rules, and can build an aircraft carrier for under a billion US dollars.

So these little games our elected leadership, our banking buddies, and our unelected Federal Reserve are playing have spent the amount of money equivalent to one thousand new Nimitz-class nuclear powered aircraft carriers, or five thousand very capable Indian aircraft carriers.

Not a big deal. In ten years, air superiority will be provided by unmanned drones, which are a fraction of the cost and be able to outperform manned aircraft. A man can only pull around 9gs. The only reason we are building new manned aircraft designs is because of the lobby of pilots.

The guys above cannot attract nearly the tail that Maverick and Goose did. But they will be able to control 15-20gs on a small, efficient platform. And we could probably buy one hundred billion UAVs for the price of this government fraud.

What do prison ships go for these days?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Ambassador Lagon, Ph.D.

American Ambassador Marc Lagon; B.A. Harvard University; Ph.D. Georgetown University

This guy is on TV talking with Greta on Fox (background noise, begin focus). They talk about human trafficking and some blonde who disappeared in Aruba a couple of years ago. Greta postulates that this blonde was sold into sex slavery in Aruba, and Lagon agrees with the possibility, although he notes that all sex trafficking moves south-to-north.

And then the bead of sweat on Lagon’s forehead emerges. I thought it was a mole at first, but it kept moving down. Greta was flattering Marc’s office the whole time. I wonder what Lagon’s armpits were doing.

They’ve got us surrounded. Those poor bastards.

Following Up: Real Estate Bottom?

On June 24th, Brick Oven declared a qualified housing bottom, based on Price Schiller’s April data.

Were we right?

Prices Up Since
Boston (1%)
Denver (2%)
Cleveland (<1%)
Dallas (1%)

Prices Down <5% Since
Atlanta (-1%)
Chicago (-2%)
Tampa (-4%)
Detroit (-4%)
Charlotte (-1%)
New York (-2%)
Portland (-3%)
Seattle (-4%)

Prices Down >5% Since
Phoenix (-15%)
Los Angeles (-10%)
San Diego (-10%)
San Francisco (-13%)
Washington DC (-6%)
Miami (-12%)
Las Vegas (-13%)

The Federal Reserve map appearing above indicates that there never was a significant housing bubble in lots of places. Our declaration appears to be fairly accurate in the majority of the American landmass. The Balkanization continues in high immigration areas.