Thursday, March 20, 2014

I just added a further comment to Gary's column after reading his entire lengthy essay:

Gary's lengthy article, and his uniformitarian views vis a vis society, government, and economy don't convince me. I'm a catastrophist. As far as I can tell, Jim Sinclair is not a Bible-believing Christian, but it's Gary's comments that remind me of a quote from 2 Peter: "Scoffers will come in the last days...saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.' " We're on the cusp of a huge catastrophic upheaval. Jim Sinclair sees it. Gary North does not. What's wrong with this picture?

$50k Gold?

Today on Gary North's "Tea Party Economist" he reviewed Jim Sinclair's prediction of $50,000 gold.  He called Jim's prediction a "senior moment", and gave all kinds of reasons based upon the inability of gold to produce an income stream why this would never happen. In Gary's opinion, investing in real estate would be much more preferable.

I think, with all due respect to these learned gentlemen, that they both either missed the point or hid it so carefully that it's difficult to find in their arguments.  Here's my reply to Gary's column:

"What Jim is basically predicting is the destruction of the dollar. The dollar will tank and be replaced long before that $50k is reached. By the time gold hits $5000, there will be a serious loss of confidence in the dollar. These numbers that are thrown out are just for effect. If the nominal price of gold were 50k an ounce, do you seriously think ANYONE would be willing to trade gold for FRNs? I tend to agree with Gary on this one, except he's making the assumption that $50,000 represents real value. Inflation is not the same thing as hyperinflation. Very, very severe inflation is not the same as hyperinflation. They are two totally different animals. Gary knows that. You can have extremely severe inflation and not have a loss of confidence in the currency. Hyperinflation occurs when it's obvious to everyone that the currency is a sham, and everyone's efforts are directed toward getting OUT of the currency and into anything that will hold value. When that occurs, price numbers are meaningless."

I don't think either Jim or Gary would want to know what I think:  If we even make it to 2020 (the date for Jim's prediction of 50k gold), we'll be lucky.  I, for one, am having difficulty even imagining the present state of affairs lasting six more years.  We're so close to the brink now, the slightest little push will send us off the edge.  Who knows what the world will look like in six years?

Monday, March 17, 2014

1957 vs. 2012

I'm posting this comment verbatim because I remember 1957.  I was in third grade then.  This post is true (except I'd call it "School" rather than "High School".  You'll see why).

HIGH SCHOOL -- 1957 vs. 2012
Scenario 1:
Jack goes quail hunting before school and then pulls into the school parking
lot with his shotgun in his truck's gun rack..
1957 - Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack's shotgun, goes to his car and
gets his shotgun to show Jack.
2012 - School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.
Scenario 2:
Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school.
1957 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.
2012 - Police called and SWAT team arrives -- they arrest both Johnny and Mark. They are both charged with assault and both expelled even though Johnny started it.
Scenario 3:
Jeffrey will not be still in class, he disrupts other students.
1957 - Jeffrey sent to the Principal's office and given a good paddling by the Principal. He then returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.
2012 - Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. He becomes a zombie.
He is then tested for ADD. The family gets extra money (SSI) from the government because Jeffrey has a disability.
Scenario 4:
Billy breaks a window in his neighbor's car and his Dad gives him
a whipping with his belt.
1957 - Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college
and becomes a successful businessman..
2012 - Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse, Billy is removed to foster
care and joins a gang. The state psychologist is told by Billy's sister that
she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy's
mom has an affair with the psychologist.
Scenario 5:
Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.
1957 - Mark shares his aspirin with the Principal out on the smoking dock..
2012 - The police are called and Mark is expelled from school for drug violations.
His car is then searched for drugs and weapons.
Scenario 6:
Pedro fails high school English.
1957 - Pedro goes to summer school, passes English and goes to college.
2012 - Pedro's cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against the state school system and Pedro's English teacher. English is then banned from core curriculum.. Pedro is given his diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.
Scenario 7:
Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from the Fourth of July, puts them in a
model airplane paint bottle and blows up a red ant bed.
1957 - Ants die.
2012 - ATF, Homeland Security and the FBI are all called. Johnny is charged
with domestic terrorism. The FBI investigates his parents - and all siblings are
removed from their home and all computers are confiscated. Johnny's dad is
placed on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.
Scenario 8:
Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee.
He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.
1957 - In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.
2012 - Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job.
She faces 3 years in State Prison. Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.
This should hit every email inbox to show how stupid we have become!

What a Nightmare

What a nightmare.  After this experience, I'll never book a package again!  Only plane tickets, thank you.  When I went to book my flight and a car rental, after all the entries with myself, my wife, my debit card, etc., and hitting the "book" button, I got a message back that said, "We couldn't contact Budget car rental.  Please try again later or choose another car rental company", 
OK, I thought, I'll use another car rental company.  So I went to take another rental company, and found I had to go through THE WHOLE PROCESS AGAIN.  It wasn't just a matter of booking another car rental onto the existing booked itinerary.  NO--I had to fill in all the blanks, including my debit card, AGAIN.  While doing this, I must've made a tactical error--I saw a button that said, "keep your itinerary and book a different car company".  So I hit the button.  Unfortunately, AFTER I again hit the "book" button, I found to my chagrin that the wrong flights had been booked with the new car company.  You mean to tell me that the computer program doesn't remember what flights I just booked??  It just FORGOT?? 
Anyway, I decided it was time to get on the phone and try to straighten things out.  The guy I got on the phone wasn't real interested in my problem; I'm sure he was thinking, "Here's another computer-challenged goof who can't get his booking straight".  But he did cancel my booking and allow me to start over, although I gather there was a cancellation fee charged even though it was only about 10 minutes since I'd booked. 
So I tried again.  Got the itinerary right, went through all the entries yet AGAIN, including the Visa card stuff, and--guess what?  They still couldn't contact the car rental company.  So I tried again with the other company.  This time, I got a message that my bank wouldn't allow the funds to be released!  I checked my bank account online, and there had been 3 withdrawals for the plane tickets!  With the withdrawal for the car, it totaled over $2400 of withdrawals to our account.  No wonder the bank was stopping withdrawals!  I didn't know that every time I attempted to book, I was getting dinged at the bank!
So I called the bank.  The nice lady there assured me that these were only "pending", and not actual debits, and that they'd be cleared once the airline realized there was no booking.  Hmmm...with $2400 at stake, you'll understand I'm not the most trusting individual in the integrity of a large business like UA with billions in capitalization to pay attention to my little peanuts claim.  Anyway, she said she'd raise my withdrawal limit to enable me to book again.  With misgivings I did.
So now I have the correct flights and a rental car exercise which should've cost me around $950, and I'm out $3400 in our account.  Our account shows FOUR debits for the plane tickets, and two for the car rental.  We only needed one of each.  And I'm waiting.  I'm told it'll take 3 to 4 business days for the money claimed from our account to be released back to us.  Till then we're kind of dead in the water.  And what if it's not released??  What do I do then?  I've got no means to fight this out and try to reclaim my money.  I'm basically at the mercy of the airline.  For all practical purposes, I've settled it in my mind that I'm out the money, and if I get some or all of it back, it'll be a windfall.
So the moral of the story, kids, is: Don't do combination bookings!!  Book the plane tickets, THEN go to the car rental website and book with them SEPARATELY.  It may cost a few dollars more (that isn't proven, btw--it may have cost the same or less), but it'll save you a lot of grief.  You can be sure I'll give this advice to people I know.