What the hell are they thinking in Washington? They currently have over $9 trillion in debt, $56 Trillion in unfunded liabilities, are fighting a war funded with Capitol One credit cards and they think it’s a smart thing to throw together a $145 billion stimulus package to encourage the consumer to spend.
Don’t they realize that being reliant on over exuberant consumer spending is what has created the monster of consumer debt in the first place. Consumer desire and sense of entitlement has driven the explosion in the average home size, the ownership rate of luxury SUVs that have never seen a dirt road, the proliferation of large screen TVs that still play the same shitty shows they did when TVs were ¼ the price. At least half of America's problem is caused by insane consumer expectation so giving consumers handouts so they can maintain an unsustainable lifestyle for another 1 or 2 months does nothing to solve the real problems.
Now the U.S. does need new spending but diverting valuable tax revenue (oops, sorry) , valuable credit to stoke consumer spending is irresponsible. The U.S. needs new spending on infrastructure such as trains (national and mass transit) and water systems, they need to invest in wind, solar thermal, geothermal and beefing up their electrical distribution network. This kind of spending if tied into domestic content rules will create high quality research and industrial jobs, it would begin to offset some part of the trade deficit associated with the import of energy, it would also move the U.S. closer towards energy independence, making foreign wars less likely and making the U.S. a far better international citizen.
Hell if this was the goal of the stimulus I’d say double or triple it but of course this is not the route they plan on taking, they’d rather give people cash to spend on dinners out, a trip to the local Mall of America and maybe even beer and popcorn;) Some people will obviously save it, pay down debt and a few will buy gold and bury it in the backyard but we all know the U.S. consumption bubble eventually has to deflate, so why extend it?
This $145 billion will be created out of thin air raising inflation and devaluing the value of rational citizen’s savings. Despite Bernanke’s claims that this stimulus package must be temporary in nature it's just window dressing. This package is just the first step towards U.S. hyperinflation, next quarter they will have another program then another until the credit dries up, then it really gets ugly. Yes they should spend on the things I outlined as stimulus but it should come from savings realized by getting the hell out of Iraq, Korea, Germany, Japan, Kuwait,………… and even then they should only spend 1 dollar for every 3 they save or divert.
The Biggest need for stimulus in the U.S. is to get voters off their asses and demand worthy leaders, until that happens it will just get worse.Recommend this Post
Friday, January 18, 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008
As some of you may know I also blog the Canadian Silver Bug a site dedicated to my belief that fiat money is a sham and that money should be either asset backed or actually be made of something of value not just dead trees, ink and hope. I also firmly believe we are heading for a heap-o-pain as the U.S. flounders through a housing, debt, and banking crisis of Weirmark Republic proportions.
The end game I believe is a a world depression with the U.S. suffering hyper inflation allowing my small pile of precious metals to appreciate enough to where I can buy a hobby farm, live out the Long Emergency in relative comfort and have all the relatives and friends that have dissed me working as my share croppers. (yes I'm slightly bitter and vindictive)
Now I'm sure none of you really give a rats ass about any of the above, so I'll tell you the cool thing, Today the Wall Street Journal actually linked to one of my articles relating to citigroup bail outs the danger posed by inaccurate rating agencies and nearly bankrupt bond insurers. While they did not delve into this topic, the mere act of linking to me gives me some hope that I'm not just wasting my time. When you see the future I see it and your a Green as well, hope is a valuable commodity.
PS. The Canadian Silver Bug is nominated for best business/finance blog.
friday morning 7:50
Damn they buried the link, oh well I was someone for 12 hoursRecommend this Post
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Malcolm Bricklin is back with a new venture called Visionary vehicles and is intent on bringing an affordable, efficient Plug in electric hybrid to the market
The goal of the project is to develop a 100 mile/gallon car that will have a 40 mile battery range, and ultra fast recharging times.
A plus for the project is that a Canadian battery company Electrovaya has signed on to partner in a new venture to develop the batteries and control systems required for the car.
I don't know if Bricklin can pull it off but it's good to see action from one of the rouges of the automotive world, hopefully he will shake up the industry.Recommend this Post
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
The Ottawa Citizen has touched on an issue I brought up before in God to Humanity "WTF!"
The Citizen's article A Christian version of Al Gore
discusses the spread of religious based or motivated environmentalism which I personally believe is a great lever to pry a portion of the existing Conservative base away from Harper's Bush-o-Bots. Many progressives including me are often disdainful of the religious, yet they can be a powerful force for the common good should we cultivate rather than belittle them. Just a thought, read the article below
'A Christian version of Al Gore'
Robin White's slide show on faith and climate change isn't up for an Oscar, but it heralds a growing trend among Christians who see environmental stewardship as a sacred calling
The Ottawa Citizen
Sunday, January 13, 2008
CREDIT: Julie Oliver, the Ottawa Citizen
Robin White is a Christian who thinks they, as a group, should be more active in the environment.
Some people think the responsibility for solving global warming falls to those in positions of power: Political leaders who can tax egregious polluters and industry tycoons who can invest in greener technology. Others believe science can remedy the world's ills.
Robin White has a different perspective.
"Christianity is the core solution to environmental problems," he says .
Mr. White, who works for Environment Canada's greenhouse gas division, doesn't dismiss the role science plays in fighting climate change. With a degree in biochemistry, he's no stranger to the world of lab coats and beakers. He knows politics plays an important part, too. His years pursuing a masters degree in international environmental policy and working for the federal NDP taught him that.
But in the end, he says, real progress in curbing the damage people inflict on the Earth can only be achieved by those who inflict it. And that means people must change. Mr. White believes this entails more than shunning plastic bags, more than discarding energy-hungry light bulbs, more than nudging down your thermostat -- it means changing how you view this world and how you view your place in it. Such profound change, he says, can only come through faith.
"Ultimately, the problem is not the science. It's not the economics. It's a problem of the heart."
In recent years, more and more practising Christians have taken active roles in addressing environmental problems. In 2006, many prominent American evangelical leaders -- including the head of the Salvation Army and Rick Warren, pastor of the fourth largest church in the U.S. and the author of The Purpose Driven Life -- signed a statement backing the "Evangelical Climate Initiative." The non-profit Christian organization A Rocha runs nature conservation projects in 18 countries, including Canada.
Mr. White, who is 34 and has never owned a car, acknowledges that Christians are becoming more open to discussing environmental issues. But attitudes are changing far too slowly for his liking. And he has a question for those believers concerned only about the next world: How can you profess love for a creator but care so little about his creation?
Some eco-minded Christians say their faith and environmental concerns are intrinsically linked. Green party leader Elizabeth May has been active in the environmental movement since her teenage years. She's been a devoted Anglican just as long. For her, the concept of a person of faith who sits idly as others leave Goliath-sized ecological footprints is absurd.
"If you proclaim yourself as a Christian and you look at the world in which you live, it's hard not to see that you have a particular obligation to right the wrongs you see around you," she says.
Ms. May says it isn't difficult for church-goers to adopt greener practices. They could, for example, carpool to church. Better yet, they could worship near their homes and walk, as she does each Sunday to St. Bartholomew's in New Edinburgh.
Environmental awareness campaigns oriented towards Christians can also be effective in making them re-examine their lifestyle choices, says Ms. May. She cites, by way of example, the 2002 effort led by a Prius-driving member of the Evangelical Environmental Network who posed the question: "What Would Jesus Drive?"
Of course, if she were asked that question, Ms. May's answer wouldn't quite fit the query: "Jesus would take the bus."
An even more effective approach than raising awareness, some Christians say, is to actually get your hands dirty. The members of A Rocha Canada, which is based in South Surrey, B.C., focus on nature conservation projects, like rehabilitating animal habitats or restoring polluted streams.
"We're motivated to do good work on the ground," say Markku Costamo, the group's executive director. "Because of our faith, we want to be good stewards of what God created by doing good, solid, practical projects."
The 20-member organization, which receives much of its funding from churches and individual donors, often works with secular environmental groups to tackle projects. Sometimes the other groups are leery, suspicious that Mr. Costamo and his colleagues have a hidden agenda. But the only evangelism they do on project sites, he says, is with their hands.
Mr. Costamo, a vegetation ecologist, says he gets many speaking requests from churches. Over the past two years, he says, evangelical Christians in particular have become increasingly interested in exploring their responsibilities not only to their fellow man, but to the Earth. Still, his passion for the environment sometimes meets with resistance.
"Some say church should be about saving souls," says Mr. Costamo, "not about wasting time restoring a salmon stream."
Mr. White has, at times, received similar comments from Christians with whom he's shared his views. In fact, he's heard worse. Someone once told him that he's been deceived, that global warming isn't real, that he should concentrate on other issues, like abortion and gay marriage. Another said he was compromising his salvation.
"Typically, the issues being touched upon by some evangelical Christians are issues they don't have to address," says Mr. White. "When you talk about abortion or gay marriage or other family values issues, they themselves don't have to change in a lot of cases. But addressing environmental issues means people have to change their lives. And that's why there's resistance."
Despite the occasional unpleasant exchange, Mr. White is doing his part to spread the gospel of green. He's prepared a slide show titled "A Christian Perspective on Climate Change." It's perhaps the only PowerPoint presentation ever to contain both a quotation from Deuteronomy and a graph showing the rise of nitrous oxide in the atmosphere. He presents the slide show to university students and local congregations. At one point, he considered making this his vocation.
"Almost like a Christian version of Al Gore," he says.
But he decided he could make a greater contribution to the world in his position at Environment Canada, where he provides policy advice on matters relating to monitoring greenhouse gases. So he does presentations on the side. Next Sunday, he'll be speaking at Sunnyside Wesleyan Church in Old Ottawa South.
"I think he can help our congregation look at this issue through a Christian lens," says Kerry Kronberg, one of the church's pastors.
Mr. White believes he's been called by God to speak out about climate change. One aspect of taking personal responsibility on environmental issues, he says, is educating others. He says Christians can make particularly strong advocates for the environment because they are duty-bound to press on, no matter how dire the circumstance, no matter how grim the outlook.
"From a non-Christian perspective, you can throw up your hands and give up. As a Christian, I can say God has given me a responsibility and I can be a light in the world. And I will."
- - -
The Good Book on green issues
Some Bible verses cited as supportive of environmentalism:
"The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it." -- Genesis 2:15
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the works of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge." -- Psalm 19: 1-4
"The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters."
-- Psalm 24: 1-2
"The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants." -- Leviticus 24:1
- - -
See the slide show
Robin White will be presenting
"A Christian Perspective on Climate Change" next Sunday,
Jan. 20, at 1 p.m. at Sunnyside Wesleyan Church, 58 Grosvenor Avenue.
© The Ottawa Citizen 2008 Recommend this Post
“I’m Pissed Off”
“So what is it today, Oh Grand Assassin”, chant my faithful disciples.
They carefully avoid the telltale cringes that sometimes manifest when I start to rant. They hide their discomfort well, knowing that one slip will earn them a week of work in the worm composting room.
“This” I say, flourishing the latest flyer for the Cash for Cancer lottery, “It’s evil”
One of the new acolytes, a doe eyed vegan sporting a homemade "stop oppressing the Bees" t-shirt offers “How can it be evil? It’s a charity lottery that supports Cancer treatment and research?”
I nod warmly and smile, while promising myself that Bambi will be getting GM Tofu tonight.
“It’s quite simple, just look at the prizes!” I sputter, frustrated that I can see the idiocy of whole thing but she only sees glossy paper, big numbers and good intentions.
A Private Jet will take you and & of your family/friends to Las Vegas
_4 days and 3 nights in a private villa, Bellagio Hotel
INCLUDES $10,000 in BELLAGIO DOLLARS,
For use in the casino, Restaurant or Spa
An obviously disguised voice from the back of the clustering students pipes up “Are you upset about the Jet?”
“Yes”, I begrudgingly admit, “but it’s the whole concept that has me pissed off. You win the use of a private Jet to fly 8 people to Las Vegas. A city that should not exist because it uses too much water it does not have, too much power trying to make a desert liveable and does nothing but promote conspicuous consumption”
“In the process you add tonnes of CO2 emissions, particulate pollution and likely eat and drink too much. Don’t you see the issue? The very lifestyles of pollution spewing and over consumption that creates much of the western worlds disease is being encouraged by a lottery that wishes to fund the cure. It’s pure lunacy”
“Is there a single fuel efficient car being offered in the draw? A single electric scooter? No they give away gas powered Vespa’s and high end gas guzzlers, and it’s not just this draw, they are all EVIL!” I scream.
“The last big house lottery gave away conventionally built 4 bedroom houses that were 7000 sq feet, is that sane or healthy? Why don’t they give away net zero energy homes? Smart cars? , Zenn cars? Solar power retrofits? Heat pumps? Eco vacations in private train cars?“
Bambi brightened, “Want us to crash their site?”
“No,” I sighed, “add them to the list for later and keep looking for dirt on John Baird, we need to take that Bastard down first”
I tussle Bambi's hair, "Tofu tonight, I hope you're hungry"Recommend this Post
Monday, January 14, 2008
The Canadian Blog Awards have moved into the voting stage and Green Assassin Brigade has been nominated in the best New Blog category. While I have no hope in hell of making the first round cut any delusional readers may cast their votes here.
I would also ask you to check out a friend of GAB who writes And She Knits Too! and is nominated in best personal blog, and best activity blog
You can also visit or vote for my other nominated blog the Canadian Silver Bug dealing with silver, gold, and the coming train wreck called the global economyRecommend this Post
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Thursday, January 3, 2008
I’m very sure that a sit down between Elizabeth May and Ron Paul would be a pleasant meeting, they would perhaps have a drink and a little nibble on some kind of healthy snacks. Paul, a Medical doctor might ask how the new hip was working out; May would inquire after Paul’s family.
Of course at some point they would turn to policy, Global warming, no, they can’t agree there. Social safety net, nope, no common ground. Monetary policy, to be honest I don’t know if May could even touch the subject?
Of course not all is lost, both are anti war and believe in non violence, both are pro pot, both have issues with NATFA and most importantly both are being screwed over by the media which feels they have the right and obligation to decide who is a valid Candidate.
In the 2006 election GPC leader Jim Harris was excluded from the televised debates. Today despite recent polls showing growing strength there is no sign from Canadian television networks that today's leader, Elizabeth May has the earned the right to be heard.
Ron Paul, a quirky but likable libertarian running for the U.S. Republican nomination is suffering the same kind of media bias and heavy handed interference in the democratic system not only from members within his own party but also from big media especially FNN (Faux or Fox News Network), which has not invited Paul to a televised debate just days before the Iowa caucus vote, inspiring numerous 1, 2, 3, news articles and blogs on the issue
One big difference however are how these slights have been dealt with by Greens and PAULites. Greens had a nice little petition
The PAULites however have taken it upon themselves to published all available emails and phone numbers for every executive and online personality at FOX and have them inundated them with complaints.
They have published lists of advertisers on FOX and have called for boycotts and complaints by their followers.
They have even called for a boycott and selling of FOX stock up to and including harassing pension and mutual funds that hold FOX stock as per Impolitcal
The thing is, most of these moves are not started directly by the Ron Paul team, they are started by eager and motivated individuals like those who raised millions of dollars of private donations in events like the Guy Fawkes and Boston Tea Party money bombs. True some supporters have gotten a little spam happy and down right rude and obnoxious in blogdom, but hell at least they are showing some motivation and vigour!
Greens have much to learn from these Paulites, Paultards,RevoPaulonaries;
aiming the message, asking for funds, volunteering, demanding to be heard, striking back at those news services that ignore us, and despite the recent surge in money, doing more with fewer resources.
Maybe it's time for Greens to stop being so passive!
Maybe it’s time for a Green Party of Canada, Earth Day Money Bomb!
Recommend this Post
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Judicial Watch has released it's list of most corrupt Washington politicians, It's quite a list especially all of the Presidential candidates on it. I'm sure a least corrupt politician list would have no Presidential candidates on it, or just be blank.
Who/what is Judicial Watch?
"Judicial Watch, Inc., a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law."
Now for the List
"1. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY): In addition to her long and sordid ethics record, Senator Hillary Clinton took a lot of heat in 2007 – and rightly so – for blocking the release her official White House records. Many suspect these records contain a treasure trove of information related to her role in a number of serious Clinton-era scandals. Moreover, in March 2007, Judicial Watch filed an ethics complaint against Senator Clinton for filing false financial disclosure forms with the U.S. Senate (again). And Hillary’s top campaign contributor, Norman Hsu, was exposed as a felon and a fugitive from justice in 2007. Hsu pleaded guilt to one count of grand theft for defrauding investors as part of a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme.
2. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI): Conyers reportedly repeatedly violated the law and House ethics rules, forcing his staff to serve as his personal servants, babysitters, valets and campaign workers while on the government payroll. While the House Ethics Committee investigated these allegations in 2006, and substantiated a number of the accusations against Conyers, the committee blamed the staff and required additional administrative record-keeping and employee training. Judicial Watch obtained documentation in 2007 from a former Conyers staffer that sheds new light on the activities and conduct on the part of the Michigan congressman, which appear to be at a minimum inappropriate and likely unlawful. Judicial Watch called on the Attorney General in 2007 to investigate the matter.
3. Senator Larry Craig (R-ID): In one of the most shocking scandals of 2007, Senator Craig was caught by police attempting to solicit sex in a Minneapolis International Airport men’s bathroom during the summer. Senator Craig reportedly “sent signals” to a police officer in an adjacent stall that he wanted to engage in sexual activity. When the police officer showed Craig his police identification under the bathroom stall divider and pointed toward the exit, the senator reportedly exclaimed 'No!'” When asked to produce identification, Craig presented police his U.S. Senate business card and said, “What do you think of that?” The power play didn’t work. Craig was arrested, charged and entered a guilty plea. Despite enormous pressure from his Republican colleagues to resign from the Senate, Craig refused.
4. Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA): As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee's subcommittee on military construction, Feinstein reviewed military construction government contracts, some of which were ultimately awarded to URS Corporation and Perini, companies then owned by Feinstein's husband, Richard Blum. While the Pentagon ultimately awards military contracts, there is a reason for the review process. The Senate's subcommittee on Military Construction's approval carries weight. Sen. Feinstein, therefore, likely had influence over the decision making process. Senator Feinstein also attempted to undermine ethics reform in 2007, arguing in favor of a perk that allows members of Congress to book multiple airline flights and then cancel them without financial penalty. Judicial Watch’s investigation into this matter is ongoing.
5. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY): Giuliani came under fire in late 2007 after it was discovered the former New York mayor’s office “billed obscure city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses amassed during the time when he was beginning an extramarital relationship with future wife Judith Nathan in the Hamptons…” ABC News also reported that Giuliani provided Nathan with a police vehicle and a city driver at taxpayer expense. All of this news came on the heels of the federal indictment on corruption charges of Giuliani’s former Police Chief and business partner Bernard Kerik, who pleaded guilty in 2006 to accepting a $165,000 bribe in the form of renovations to his Bronx apartment from a construction company attempting to land city contracts.
6. Governor Mike Huckabee (R-AR): Governor Huckabee enjoyed a meteoric rise in the polls in December 2007, which prompted a more thorough review of his ethics record. According to The Associated Press: “[Huckabee’s] career has also been colored by 14 ethics complaints and a volley of questions about his integrity, ranging from his management of campaign cash to his use of a nonprofit organization to subsidize his income to his destruction of state computer files on his way out of the governor’s office.” And what was Governor Huckabee’s response to these ethics allegations? Rather than cooperating with investigators, Huckabee sued the state ethics commission twice and attempted to shut the ethics process down.
7. I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby: Libby, former Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and fined $250,000 for lying and obstructing the Valerie Plame CIA leak investigation. Libby was found guilty of four felonies -- two counts of perjury, one count of making false statements to the FBI and one count of obstructing justice – all serious crimes. Unfortunately, Libby was largely let off the hook. In an appalling lack of judgment, President Bush issued “Executive Clemency” to Libby and commuted the sentence.
8. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL): A “Dishonorable Mention” last year, Senator Obama moves onto the “ten most wanted” list in 2007. In 2006, it was discovered that Obama was involved in a suspicious real estate deal with an indicted political fundraiser, Antoin “Tony” Rezko. In 2007, more reports surfaced of deeper and suspicious business and political connections It was reported that just two months after he joined the Senate, Obama purchased $50,000 worth of stock in speculative companies whose major investors were his biggest campaign contributors. One of the companies was a biotech concern that benefited from legislation Obama pushed just two weeks after the senator purchased $5,000 of the company’s shares. Obama was also nabbed conducting campaign business in his Senate office, a violation of federal law.
9. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who promised a new era of ethics enforcement in the House of Representatives, snuck a $25 million gift to her husband, Paul Pelosi, in a $15 billion Water Resources Development Act recently passed by Congress. The pet project involved renovating ports in Speaker Pelosi's home base of San Francisco. Pelosi just happens to own apartment buildings near the areas targeted for improvement, and will almost certainly experience a significant boost in property value as a result of Pelosi's earmark. Earlier in the year, Pelosi found herself in hot water for demanding access to a luxury Air Force jet to ferry the Speaker and her entourage back and forth from San Francisco non-stop, in unprecedented request which was wisely rejected by the Pentagon. And under Pelosi’s leadership, the House ethics process remains essentially shut down – which protects members in both parties from accountability.
10. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV): Over the last few years, Reid has been embroiled in a series of scandals that cast serious doubt on his credibility as a self-professed champion of government ethics, and 2007 was no different. According to The Los Angeles Times, over the last four years, Reid has used his influence in Washington to help a developer, Havey Whittemore, clear obstacles for a profitable real estate deal. As the project advanced, the Times reported, “Reid received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Whittemore.” Whittemore also hired one of Reid’s sons (Leif) as his personal lawyer and then promptly handed the junior Reid the responsibility of negotiating the real estate deal with federal officials. Leif Reid even called his father’s office to talk about how to obtain the proper EPA permits, a clear conflict of interest. "
3 Republicans, 1 Rep appointee and 6 Democrats, I'm sure there is arguement room to shuffle and add to this list but still it's damn scarry that so many of these people are so prominent and their pasts don't seem to impact their carreers, with the notable exceptions of Libby and Senator Larry(blow job)Craig.Recommend this Post