Friday, August 29, 2014

The fallacy of recyling, or 'Don't feed the hippies'

Each Friday morning, I look out my front window and watch a very large, new, beautifully equipped recycling truck stop at my neighbor's driveway and pick up the dutifully sorted recycled materials in color coded bins: blue for aluminum, red for glass and green for paper.

And I shake my head.  The cost in doing this foolishness is just huge, if you do the relatively simple math.  Recycling in any community is nothing more than a camouflaged jobs program, costing the local community way more money than it claims is made by recycling.  These trucks are expensive, and the guys that man them are even more expensive.  Many times there are TWO guys on these trucks, but one guy can also get it done.  

I did the simple math.  Without getting into the weeds, I put together a spreadsheet to determine the costs of operating a fully equipped recycling truck and operating it over a typical month.  The cost to each community for each truck per day is approximately $719.82, considering the cost of the truck to buy, depreciate over 10 years, pay a union crew with retirement benefits, and administrate and garage, not to mention fuel up, plus other costs I have not even put into consideration.

To break even, an average recycle truck would have to pick up at each and every household a total of 256 aluminum cans, considering each can at market value of aluminum per pound is not quite a dollar per pound (97 cents per pound as of today),  or about 1/2 a penny per can, slightly more.  Each can weighs 2.7 grams, and a pound of cans would require around 166 cans. ( I would insert my Excel spreadsheet here for your verification of my numbers, but I don't know how. )

Simply stated, there is absolutely no way that each household puts out 256 aluminum cans per week for recycling.  Not even close. These trucks are roaring around everyone's neighborhood, spewing diesel exhaust into the environment, and in the end, they are losing money and wasting everyone's time and effort.  

Again, without getting into the weeds on the numbers, these nicely equipped and staffed recycling trucks are losing big money each month in their endeavors.  "But Fredd, but Fredd, they are also picking up glass and paper, you have to include that money made from recycling into your spreadsheet to be fair!!"

Be satisfied that I don't include those hippie-feeding activities. Recycling costs of glass and paper are not even solid technologies that can't even come marginally close to the costs of simply using available and cheap raw materials to manufacturer new glass and paper, rather than go through the expensive process of collecting, processing, cleaning and distributing recycled materials.  The math here only goes south on a cost basis, and will only subvert your liberal argument.   

At least the recycling of aluminum, unlike glass and paper, is close to an achievable and viable technology, but not quite.  I did not include in my spreadsheet above the costs involved in storing these cans, which are partially full of Coke, Red Bull, honey bees, wasps, flies, maggots, vomit (also known as backwash), and other impurities that I am way too modest to list.  Then the costs to clean all of the above and distill these cans into a marketable form are not calculated, either.

The whole point is that this recycling business is based purely on emotion and not on economics.  You feel good that you are helping the planet by ensuring that your cans, paper and glass are not going into land fills and befouling Mother Earth (Gaia).  

Truth be told, none of this stuff is toxic, and all came from the earth originally and when properly buried, will return to the earth from whence it came.  All we are doing in our recycling efforts are creating jobs for liberals.  You may notice that I mentioned that I watched each Friday as that recycling truck stopped at my neighbor's driveway, and not mine. I don't participate in this foolishness in any way, shape or form, at least not voluntarily.

My philosophy is solid: I say 'don't feed the hippies.'

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

What has Ferguson taught us all?

This conversation never ends.

It is always the same soap opera, which goes something like this: poor man and poor woman have children.  Poor man leaves for greener pastures, which are never greener.  Poor woman is left with the children, and is resentful of her lot in life.  Her children are neglected, and have no male role models, other than the thugs living in their neighborhood who live off of terrorizing the community.

The poor children of the poor single woman grow up, hating authority and feeling like their community owes them stuff.  They take what they want, regardless of the opposition to their uncontrolled lusts for things they have not worked for.

After a time, people of means grow tired of the violence in their community and leave.  Many of the people of means are white, while the people of little or no means have few options in life and stay in crime riddled neighborhoods, trapped by the cycle of poverty.

The poor black people living in crime ridden neighborhoods blame the white populations for abandoning them to these urban hell holes.  The white refugees seek safer communities for themselves and their children and are subsequently hated by those left behind.  'White Flight' occurs as a result of this never ending cycle.

And it will continue.  People want to live their lives in peace, and will do whatever they can to avoid hell holes like Ferguson, where the Zeit Geist dictates that it is OK for the public to ransack the town because an undisciplined black teenager was confronted and killed by police.

Ferguson will in time become another Detroit.  Filled with despair, hopelessness and violence.  The lesson we learned from Ferguson?  Avoid Ferguson.

Monday, August 11, 2014

ISIS goal: rule the world. That was Charlie Manson's goal, too...

These ISIS dopes are all over the internet now, claiming that one day they will raise their black flag over the White House.  They are drunk with success in terrorizing a bunch of tribes in northern Iraq. 

Their victories came so easily, they figured ISIS will rule the world by Christmas.  

Good luck with that, Mustafa.

These maniacs of ISIS remind me a lot of Charles Manson and his murderous 'family' back in the late 1960's.  Yes, it's a stretch, but here goes:

Charlie figured he could start a race war in the US by randomly killing some 'piggies' (rich white folk) and blame it on blacks.  He then figured that the whites would retaliate by rising up and killing blacks indiscriminately and subsequently society would fall into chaos.  He and his bunch would then hide out at the Spann Ranch until the shooting subsided, and then he would emerge and unite everyone, with him as king.

Yes, this was about as numb-nutted a plan as was ever concocted by a human in the history of the planet, with as many holes in this moronic plan as a million pound chunk of Swiss cheese.

And the same idiocy can be assigned to these dolts that comprise ISIS.  Their plan involves sweeping throughout the world installing their caliphate on everybody.  Everyone will fear their tactics of chopping off heads, hands, legs and eyeballs willy nilly and subsequently everyone will submit to the will of Allah.

Nice plan if you can pull it off, Mahmoud.

Mustafa, Mahmoud and the rest of that murderous ISIS bunch are nothing more than a pack of uneducated goat herders who have been given AK-47's and told to shoot infidels.  They then capitalized on the Obama failure to retain any residual US forces in a fractured Iraq and subsequently seized a ton of US weapons from the stupid goat herders-turned-Iraqi-soldiers when they dropped their rifles, abandoned their Abrahams tanks at the first sign of trouble from ISIS.  It's a local mess that will fizzle out to nothing once ISIS runs out of US howizter ammo, and their M1 Abrahams tanks conk out (which will be real soon, those babies need a butt load of maintenance: something about which these ISIS boobs have no clue).

Once their cache of seized weapons is expended, they are done with their expansion plans.  They couldn't manufacture so much as a toaster, to say nothing of assault rifle rounds and RPGs.

But they sure know how to make the news.

And, of course, so did Charlie Manson .



Thursday, August 7, 2014

“The Kid” predicts investors lose their shirts

“Fredd, looks like a 10-12% correction in store for the markets this month.”  This sentiment was uttered in a post script comment  to me just a few days ago. The Kid, proprietor of the site Diary of a Right Wing Pussycat  has gazed into his relatively reliable crystal ball and has spoken.

If this is indeed our future, we would all make some serious scratch if  we were to short the shares of some index stocks such as QQQQ and SPY, which mirror the general direction of assets in the exchanges.

So far, I have made some pretty good bucks on Kid’s predictions, although he has missed the mark recently on a marijuana stock (PHOT), the only blight on Kid’s record.  And I’ll be danged if so far this month, stocks are certainly trending in that general negative direction.

From an all-time high of 17,138, the Dow Jones index has fallen to 16,443, or about 4% in a few weeks.  We’ll give The Kid some slack, and allow his prediction of ‘this month’ to start at the high of July 22nd or so, and continue for 30 days.  To reach The Kid’s prediction of at least a 10% correction, the markets must lose another 1000 points or so in the next two weeks, or by August 22nd.

Go ahead and ask me if I am betting the farm and pumping my life’s savings into equity shorts.  Not on your life.  The Kid, even with his huge, bulging brain working overtime analyzing the markets is probably wrong on this prediction.  We have two weeks to see, but I am betting on the markets staying the course and moving at worst sideways, but probably ticking upwards in the next two weeks.

Here’s why: Obama is president, and people don’t like Barry’s effect on the markets.  That is not arguable, since both times he won, in 2008 and 2012, the markets tanked the following day.   He is a socialist (not even arguable here either), and firmly and steadfastly believes in redistribution of wealth.  The market doesn’t share his beliefs in this regard, and has been strangled owing to so much capital sitting on the sidelines and overseas since his election.  Imagine how equity markets might have performed had Mitt Romney been elected in 2012 – perhaps a Dow Jones topping 20,000 or more.  No way to tell now, but my theory is as follows:

There is pent up demand for equities, but investors are tentative in putting their hard earned money into the markets in earnest until they are convinced that uncertainty regarding tax policy, foreign policy and health care costs has been alleviated.  The administration has also set the Fed funds rate at 0.0%, which affects interest rates throughout the economy, so bonds and CD’s are not attracting any money, either.

So where does all the money go, waiting for some certainty to return to the markets, besides sitting overseas and in low interest bearing cash accounts?  The money that is not sitting on the sidelines (a huge amount, folks, YOOGE)  is still in the market, since the stock market is still the only game in town.  And this ‘town’ consists of the entire world. 

Once Barry is gone, all of that pent up demand for investments that have attractive ROI’s is going to be unleashed in a big way.  When President Christie, President Cruz, President Paul or President Romney (a dark horse) is elected in 2016, watch the markets hit dizzying highs.  We could possibly even see a huge surge in stocks if the US Senate changes hands this November.

Until then, there is still no place else to park your spare cash that earns anything close to reasonable returns: the US equity markets.  Our feeble recovery is simply reflecting reticence on part of worldwide investors in investing in a socialist-leaning American economy.  It’s still the best bet in the world, but it will be a much better bet with adults in charge, rather than the hapless fools that are holding us back now.

Either Kid is wrong, or I am wrong.  We will see in the next few weeks, so stay tuned, boys and girls…..






Sunday, August 3, 2014

Read this post or you're going to die!

Not really.  But that headline is the typical method of hawking too many products today.  And much like sex, fear sells very well indeed, and it's not even arguable.

A few years ago, we all saw the Rosland Capital ad featuring G. Gordon Liddy (of Nixon 'Watergate' scandal infamy) telling us to buy gold and buy it now, as much as you can, or you will suffer losses to your nest egg much like we all saw in 2008 and 2009 when the stock market lost 45% of its value.  When Gordo was pitching us this schtick on gold, this was when gold, a commodity, was trading at around $1,900 per ounce.  Then over a period of about three weeks a few years ago, gold prices plummeted to $1,280/ounce where they still remain today and have hovered around this level for well over a year, now: had you listened to Gordo, you would have seen a loss of about a third of your investment.

Where is G. Gordon Liddy now?  Where is Gordo when you need answers to his claim that you needed to invest in his crappy garbage or face ruin?  Gordo? You said my investment was going to 'go up, not down.' What happened, Gordo?  Buddy?  (.....crickets chirping......)

I am a classically trained financial advisor, and I am acutely aware of these tactics every time I see or hear them.  Typically, the bogus ads begin with a startling statement that casts doubt on the performance of equities listed on the various stock markets.  Many of these ads cast fear into the hearts of those watching, and suggest that they will end up in the gutter, eating dog food and living in a dumpster unless they buy the hawked product du jour.

The truth of the matter is that stocks rise and fall, but generally rise over the long term, and that long term rise in assets is averaging around 9% per annum (over the last 100 years).  It's the inherent volatility of the equity markets that these predators focus on, and they completely disregard the general long term positive performance of the markets.

The biggest abuser of playing on people's fears are the annuity companies, which peddle insurance products.  Unlike products available through banks or exchanges, the twist on these scams are that they are simply contracts between insurance companies and those buying their crap.  And these contracts are written by lawyers employed by the insurance companies, and those smarmy shysters write those contracts in heavy favor of the insurance company, and not you.  The biggest problem with these products is that they limit your benefits as much as possible during boom times, and your exposure to losses are not always limited - it all depends on how the lawyers spelled out the terms.  Additionally, these products are not guaranteed like bank products - they are paid out based on the good will and financial viability of the guys writing the checks.  Nobody is compelling these insurance guys to write checks to customers.  They write them if they feel like it.  If they don't write the check, so sue them.

Buy my annuity or die alone in the gutter, penniless and pitiful.  Don't buy into that crap, folks.  Yes, fear sells.  And it sells very well.  All I can tell you is that these fear mongers lie like dogs.  But you will still probably succumb to their Siren's call.  You can't help it.

Just like you can't help buying Bud Lite, because when you do you will be popular and hang out with swimsuit models just like on the ads.


It has to be true, the ads wouldn't lie, would they?


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

How to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - guaranteed to work.

This conflict has been going on since 1948: vagrant Arabs see Jews as making something of their desert they moved into that was formerly infrequently inhabited by migrant Bedouins. And even these Bedouins didn't stay in one place in the desert that is now Israel for very long.  It was just too desolate.

Now it is an industrial and political powerhouse.  And the vagrant Arabs want it back.  'Right of return' my butt.  Nobody to speak of ever lived there before Israel was formed, and everyone knows it.  These vagrant Arabs who now call themselves Palestinians were in reality Jordanians, Lebanese, Egyptians and Syrians.  They were never Palestinians, ever.  There was no Palestine, other than the area that consisted of western Jordan, northern Egypt, southern Syria and later on, southern Lebanon.  There was no country called Palestine.  There just wasn't.  

But now, these angry Arabs have sworn to wipe Israel off the map, nothing less, and take back Palestine (which they never owned to begin with), now that Israel has put the energy and money into the land to make something of it, where before it was nothing but a desolate wasteland.  

There can be no peaceful co-existence.  There never will be.

Solution?  Easy, piece o' cake.  Let the conflict begin in earnest. Let the combatants loose, and let the bullets fly.  May the best army win.  And the winning army will not win by avoiding civilian casualties.  The winning army will decimate the other's will to fight once it has demonstrated that it can annihilate them.  

Works every time it's tried.  Always has, always will. May the invention of the 'surgical strike' pass into oblivion as the surest way to lose a war in the long term.

Just let 'er rip.  Like I said, may the best army win.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A visit to San Francisco: behind enemy lines....

I just returned from a four day stint in the City By The Bay, home of Barry Bonds*, Al Capone and Nancy Pelosi.  Yes, four days in San Francisco to celebrate my niece's 16th birthday.

This was not my city of choice to spend any time in whatsoever, but there was no convincing a 16-year old that there are communist outposts in the U.S.  Even if she did believe me, she didn't care.  We went anyway.

During my brief encounter behind enemy lines, I was fascinated by what I saw and heard: a city that is in its death throes, but doesn't know it yet.

Our cabbie who took us from the airport to the hotel near Fisherman's Wharf (obviously a gay guy) was explaining with great delight his rental digs up on the hill overlooking the town was rent controlled: he was paying around a $1000/month, as he had been in this apartment for over 30 years, while his next door neighbor was paying 'market price' for identical digs: $5000/month.

I chose not to get into it with 'Gary the Cabbie,' about the effects of price controls and that they simply don't work in controlling prices (just ask Gary's neighbor).  Sure, they are working for Gary, since he's already got his, but they are not working all that great for his neighbor.  I am sure Gary doesn't give a damn about his neighbor, but that is the subject for another day.

We took the 'hop on, hop off' bus tour of the city, and saw all the sights, to include:


  • Haight-Ashbury.  This dump is arguably the dirtiest, crappiest neighborhood in town.  I literally had to watch each and every step I took to avoid stepping in vomit, human feces, french fries or bird crap.  The residents walking up and down the street opening smoking dope looked like they were freshly released from the asylum in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.'  Haight-Ashbury is a toilet of a town.
  • The Painted Ladies.  You know, those lovely buildings shown in the opening scenes of 'Full House,' with the scenic backdrop of the city.  They were covered in scaffolding at the time I saw them, but I was guessing that were they for sale, they would have been priced at $100,000,000 per unit, in this price controlled town.  Pretty nice digs for  Danny, Aunt Becky, Uncle Jesse and Uncle Joey to hang out in let me tell you.
  • A walk from the free bus stop to the San Francisco Giant's baseball park was enlightening.  I have never in my life seen so many big, fat obese bums sleeping the day away along the many benches and sidewalks.  San Francisco has the fattest homeless population in the world, where not one bum has missed a meal in over thirty years by looking at them.  Pickings are pretty good for the homeless in San Francisco, if the size of the bum beer guts I saw is any indication.
  • Free buses.  Technically, they are $2.00 a ride each way, but the driver's really don't want to bother with taking your money, despite me trying desperately to pay my way.  The angry bus driver just told me to move along, and looked irritated that I wanted to bother him with payment.  Since everything in San Francisco is subsidized by Nancy Pelosi's Democrats, what's the point in trying to squeeze a profit from anything?  Lots of money is available from the Democrats so why bother.
This city will someday collapse like any other socialist society in human history.  The bums will overwhelm all available resources (the paradox/tragedy of 'The Commons'), and all of this free stuff will go away, and most likely not peacefully.  Those bums are pretty aggressive in San Francisco and will most likely not go away quietly into the night.