The Rats Are Squealing!!!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The Sunday Sermon

Bankster pyramid of greed and corruption

They say rats squeal when they are being hunted and nearing capture and they’re right.

None more so at present than the rat banksters and nowhere more so than on Wall Street. If you listen carefully you can hear them squeal even above the noise of the New York traffic.

And the reason for the squealing?

Only that federal authorities are at long last closing in on some of the worst culprits whose greed and contempt for their clients caused the financial crisis we have all be suffering from during the past decade and more.

But before you start clapping the feds on the back, let me say it is too little and too late. None of the banksters are likely to face jail sentences which is what they deserve for their crimes against the people.

Foreclosure-Homes

However, it is something and these days that’s about the best you can hope for.

In terms of the numbers, the banksters are facing fines of something in the region of $63 billion.

Wow, listen to them squeal!

It seems like a lot of money – and it is a lot of money, it could keep all of us blogging away happily for the rest of our lives and then some. But put in the context of what the banksters defrauded their clients out of and what they lost it is just a pittance.

Putting the figures into context, J P Morgan Chase’s $13 billion mortgage settlement in November was probably some kind of record, but they issued more than $460 billion in mortgage securities.

To illustrate it in numbers people can relate to better, that’s like a thief stealing a thousand dollars from you and getting away with it if he paid you back $28.

I bet the amount of the settlement doesn’t seem so big now. Nor is it commensurate with the size of the crime. But that’s what they’ll probably get away with. And they’re not even grateful for this small smack on the wrist, hence all the squealing.

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I Told You They Were Coming!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Time for another Sunday Sermon, otherwise known as a rant!

 Foreclosure Notice Yellow Photo

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First it was Cyprus where the bankrupt government tried to steal money right out of people’s bank accounts. If you want to read that again click here and here.)

Then it was the turn of the greedy bureaucrats in Australia who decided to tax pensions TWICE, once when you put the money in and again when you tried to take it out! (For the original post click here.) 

Now in bankrupt Spain the politicians are at it, however, this time they aren’t proposing to steal some of the money in your bank account  –  oh no, this time they want to steal your entire home!

Yes, you read it right, the Spanish government has announced this past week that they want to seize homes that have been foreclosed on by banks and developers.

Not that I have any sympathy with the banksters, not by a long chalk! But theft is theft, and theft by governments is perhaps the most evil of all simply because the victims have little or no remedies available – other than pack up and go somewhere else.

se vende

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As usual the politicians and bureaucrats are trying to dress this theft up as something helpful. They say they will rent the confiscated foreclosed homes to Spanish families who will be allowed to live there rent-free for up to three years.

Sounds great, but as usual what these political morons have failed to do is think their policy through.

If they go ahead with this plan to steal homes the consequences will not be what they think.

First of all it will destroy what is left of the mortgage market in Spain because no one will want to make home loans on Spanish real estate if there is no viable foreclosure mechanism should things go wrong for the mortgagee.

Second, it will go a long way to killing off the buy-to-let sector, which is the thing that has been keeping the real estate market afloat in these financially strained times. Home sales, not just in Spain, but in many countries have been boosted considerably by cash rich investors picking up what they consider to be ‘bargain’ properties at a level that yields a decent return on their capital. Where will they get that return if the government kills the rental sector by renting out homes for free?

And third, it will also kill off the recent Spanish drive to attract foreign investors by offering residency to anyone who spends around $200,000 buying up the glut of Spanish property currently on its real estate market.   

If these things were happening in Zimbabwe or even Venezuela everyone would be calling it a disgrace. But it is happening in Europe and Australia and America. And it will get worse the more desperate the politicians and the bureaucrats become as they make the mess they created worse, not better.

Who on earth put idiots like these in charge?

It wasn’t you was it?

pointing_finger_clip_art_23483

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Can Heads That Have No Brains Handle A No-Brainer?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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origin of banksters

Time for another rant about the slime of creation, also known as the banksters.

This blog is about highlighting and fighting against stupidity and bureaucracy and there is no better example of this than the banking industry.

Their stupidity is only matched by their arrogance and their greed.

More than five years on from plunging the world into a financial catastrophe, and all of us into debt that will take generations to sort out, they are still at it!

And the governments are still faffing about, afraid to take on those who bribe them with “contributions” to their election campaigns.

banksters table

For example, the European parliament only reached a “tentative deal” last Wednesday evening to limit bankers’ bonuses at twice the value of their fixed pay. They call it “imposing the toughest limits on pay since the financial crisis”. Gimme strength!!! Of course, the deal, still has to be endorsed formally by governments and lawmakers (i.e., the bureaucrats), and is the result of 18 months of farting around (they call it negotiating).

It’s a start, but a poor and a slow one.

It shows how long it takes for a no-brainer to happen in heads that have no brains!

In timely manner, latest results last week came from Europe, namely the grandly named basket-case Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Lloyds Group, and Spain’s lesser sounding Bankia.

Already more than 80% owned by the British Government (i.e., taxpayers) who stupidly bailed out these idiots to the tune of almost $70 billion, RBoS have announced further losses of around $9 billion!

To make matters worse, $1.6 billion of that was to compensate clients wrongly sold insurance and interest-rate hedging products – which is a nice way of saying they have been caught fleecing their customers and now have to pay back money they cheated their clients out of in the first place.

They called it a “chastening year”.  

Meatime Lloyds chalked up further losses to the tune of more than $2 billion!

And the banksters aren’t any smarter in Spain either. Bankia also this week reported a net loss of €19.06 billion ($25.04 billion) for 2012, by far the largest in Spanish corporate history.

And you know what? Let’s add insult to injury.

These dumb-asses are looking for bonuses for their efforts.

Can you believe it?

banksters bonuses

If someone starts a business and it fails, no one gives them a bonus – they lose their business (usually because the banksters force them to close down).

Just how on earth have we allowed the banking industry to create a culture of stupidity to take hold and remain in place after such clear evidence that it is not working. It is completely absurd.

Hit your sales targets, make money for the company and yes sir you can have a bonus and well deserved. Cost the company $ billions and drive it to bankruptcy because of your incompetence and the only bonus you should get is early parole for good behavior.

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That’s Europe taken care of, can’t go without a word about the American banksters too.

Latest news is that they “have discovered” that they wrongfully foreclosed on more than 700 members of the military during the housing crisis and seized homes from about two dozen other borrowers who were current on their mortgage payments,

The banks, namely Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, only found the foreclosures after regulators ordered them to examine mortgages as part of a multibillion-dollar federal settlement. Each bank “discovered” around 200 members of the military whose homes were wrongly foreclosed in 2009 and 2010.

So while military personnel are putting themselves in harm’s way to protect and defend the country, the slime in the banks are busy trying to illegally foreclose on their homes.

Incredible!

Not only do these foreclosures violate the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, a federal law requiring banks to obtain court orders before foreclosing on active-duty members, but they violate every common law of decency.

The sooner governments come to their senses and put these banksters out of business the better and cleaner the country will be.

banksters wrecked the economy

***end rant***

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The Richest Nation The World Has Ever Known Has Become The Greatest Debtor The World Has Ever Known

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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****A Saturday rant****

One day this week, according to all reliable financial sources, the United States of America’s debt burden reaches the $16 trillion mark, or as close to it as makes no difference.

That’s $16,000,000,000,000.00

The richest nation the world has ever known has now become the greatest debtor the world has ever known.

And the problem which began to get seriously out of control under the Bush Presidency is still spiraling out of control under Obama’s regime.

go bananas
go bananas

To add a little perspective to the huge numbers, it took the United States government more than two hundred years to accumulate its first trillion dollars of debt, BUT it took only two hundred and eighty-six days for the most recent trillion dollars of debt to be added. And that was under the  “Yes We Can” and “Change” administration.

So what has changed?

Nothing much.

Yes we can what?

  • Borrow and borrow and borrow again?
  • Let the horrific bankster’s mess run on for a few more decades?
  • Dream up more and more new government programs that we cannot afford?
  • Leave future generations in so much debt that they will never and can never get out from under it, (because there won’t be enough money to pay the interest on the debt let alone repay it)?
  • Continue to stick our heads in the sand while other nations kick our ass?

As I write this I can hear the Fed’s printing presses clunking away producing more new dollars out of thin air, which they will distribute through the banks  –  who will keep most of the money instead of releasing it to individuals and businesses to stimulate the economy and create employment.

Sadly, not only is the nation bankrupt, but the politicians who govern it are too  –  bankrupt of good ideas, intelligence and common sense. Their mentality is, ‘if something isn’t working, don’t change it, just do more of it’.  (Aaaarrrrrrggggghhhhhhh!!!)

Their ultimate solution will be, as it inevitably always is – more taxes and more control! Just wait for those shoes to drop.

In the US, Hawaii and Florida are the only states that grow bananas. I suggest that they start looking for ways to up production because that is the type of republic the politicians seem hell bent turning us into!

****End rant****

naked banana
naked banana

 

When Your Bank Gives You A Load Of Sh1t, Just Give It Right Back To Them!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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It isn’t often that there is the opportunity to report a victory of the common man over the banksters. But a few years ago one did happen when a 71-year-old British farmer, from Northumberland, won a £300,000 settlement from his bank after what he described as years of frustration and pain.

Although the bank settled, shortly before the case went to the British High Court, the farmer, Mr David Cannon, said he still felt as though he had not got justice. “They could give me every penny on the planet, but it still couldn’t put it right. It’s taken 10 years away from me. To them it’s monopoly money, but to me it’s all I’ll get.”

His problem was with the National Westminster Bank plc, and began in May 1990. It centered on £70,000 which Mr Cannon claimed went missing somewhere between his own account, his son’s personal and business accounts and an account belonging to his son’s business partner.

He is convinced the money had disappeared gradually during “dozens and dozens” of transfers between the accounts. Naturally the NatWest Bank always strongly denied that the money went astray.

The legal proceedings started way back in 1991, and the Cannons were forced to sell their 300-strong herd of prize-winning Ayrshire cows to fund their case. Mr Cannon said: “It was heart-breaking having to sell the herd, and soon I, and especially my wife, had problems with our health.”

After four-and-a-half years of deadlock with the legal proceedings Mr Cannon decided enough was enough. He borrowed a muck-spreader and chugged into Newcastle-upon-Tyne on his tractor.

In a little over two minutes, he blasted four tons of slurry over NatWest’s Mosley Street branch.

Phew!!!

Stonemasons spent two weeks clearing up and Mr Cannon was fined £2,000. But undeterred, a year later, he subjected the bank’s Ponteland branch to the same exterior decoration.

He really was giving them shit!

Still the dispute dragged on, until December 1998, by which time Mr Cannon had lost patience once again. This time he blocked the door of the Grey Street branch of the bank with his tractor.

Ten months later he returned to the Ponteland branch, baffling staff by measuring the entrance. The next day he forced the doors open with his tractor and barricaded himself inside, nailing fence rails across the doorway. This bank job cost him another £600.

His final fling occurred the following June 12, when he dumped a five-ton load of shit on the doorstep of the Ponteland branch and returned to his farm – pursued by police. Amazingly, he managed to reload and chugged back to the bank, where he made a second five-ton deposit. A low-speed chase ensued, the police puncturing the 10mph tractor’s tyres with a ‘stinger’.

Mr Cannon was charged with criminal damage, dangerous driving, driving without an excise licence and failing to stop for a police officer. He was given a 60-day suspended sentence and ordered to pay £845.60 compensation plus £250 costs.

Mr Cannon, a former bare-knuckle boxer, said: “But fortunately it was in my nature to fight them. Breeding cattle was my life.”

The bank, NatWest issued a token 63-word statement which denied any admission of liability. They refused to add to it when questioned by reporters.

Simon Pitkeathley of the British Bankers’ Association, says angry customers would do better to follow the conventional complaints procedure or move your account elsewhere, said: “Mr Cannon’s behaviour obviously can’t be condoned.”

But I liked it. Good one Mr C.

The big question is, by awarding £300,000 to a man who has taken direct action, has the bank set a dangerous precedent for those distressed customers contemplating direct action? Wouldn’t it be great if they were in for loads more shi……I mean, bother?

 

Farmer David Cannon giving his bank some shit
Farmer David Cannon giving his bank some shit

Are The Banksters Guilty Of Treason Against The Nation?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

 

“Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason?

Why if it prosper, none dare call it treason.” 

Ovid / Sir John Harrington

 

When I first though about this subject for a post on my blog, I had America mainly in my mind, I suppose because that is where the rot started to show. But when I though about it a little more I quickly realized that the same charge could equally be brought against the banksters in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, France and in fact the entire European Union.

They took money that was not theirs, that was placed in trust with them for safe and responsible stewardship, and they gambled it and lost it. 

Then they used their influence on stupid politicians to steal the honest taxpayer’s money to fill up their coffers again. They were apparently too big to fail – what an utter load of nonsense!

They promised when they were stealing OUR money that they would use it to make loans to businesses and thereby stimulate and reactivate the economy that they themselves had brought to a standstill when they lost OUR original cash in stupid and foolhardy deals that no one with any brains or any sense of responsibility to their clients would have dared to go near.

They lied.

 

The banksters lied to us
The banksters lied to us

 

They took OUR money for the second time and kept it for themselves. A lot of it went on bonuses, sometimes in the tens of millions of dollars. A reward to themselves for staggering incompetence.

In any other industry, if you were so bad at your job as to bankrupt your company, you would not only be fired but stand a good chance of being charged with fraud or negligence or something. But if you are a bankster and have successfully sold the lie that you are “too big to fail”, then you get away with it. It doesn’t hurt if you have a few politicians in your pocket either! 

And, apart from paying yourself huge bonuses for losing OUR money the first time, what do you do with the proceeds of stealing OUR money the second time? Well, of course, first you give yourself another big pay rise, and then you gamble again and lose even more of OUR money.

Remember the J P Morgan $2billion loss – er, make that a $9billion loss would you. Just as Hillary Clinton “mis-spoke” when she lied to the public, J P Morgan “mis-counted” the first time they declared the extent of their incompetence! We probably have not heard the truth yet.

Banksters - the best we have???
Banksters – the best we have???

And President Obama has the gall to tell the world that these morons and liars are “the best we have”! Seriously? Do you really expect the people to believe that? I don’t think so. I certainly hope not.

But the J P Morgan $2billion loss turning out to be a $9billion loss is just the tip of a colossal  iceberg. This one is a hell of a lot bigger than the one that sank the Titanic  –  it’s threatening to sink entire countries.

 

Banksters Motto: Greed Before Country
Banksters Motto: Greed Before Country

The public and even the various governments have not been made aware of the full extent of the catastrophic losses these idiots (remember the best we have) have made. All the big banks, whether in the US, or Britain, or Spain or France or wherever are furiously cooking their books and have been for the last five years. Their companies are insolvent, they are bankrupt, but they are hiding the truth from everyone.  

This is fraud.

In fact, because of the power that they have, and the impact their stupidity inevitably has on the entire national economy, what they have done and are continuing to do is commit treason.

In a country run by Joe Stalin or Saddam Hussein (perhaps proving that not everyone is all bad all of the time) these treacherous banksters would have been put up against a wall and shot. That may be a bit extreme for us, but at the very least they should lose their jobs, have their stashes of personal wealth confiscated, and be thrown into jail. If it was good enough for a thief like ponzi king, Madoff, it should be good enough for thieves like them.

End rant, cue a few videos on the subject.

Enjoy!

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A view from Britain

 

A view from Ireland

 

 The best government money can buy

 

Understanding The Financial Crisis–For Kids and Grownups

 

The Longest Post Ever! But It’s Not My Fault, Blame The Idiocrats.

 

*** rant warning *** so brace yourselves.

The subtitle of this blog is “Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”.

Now it’s all well and good saying that, I repeat it at the beginning of almost all of my posts. But what gets lost at times is just how important a phrase this has become.

We are now in the process in countries like the United States and UK of letting once great nations to be destroyed for no other reason than we have allowed the morons in our society to take over. The people who should be told what to do are now in positions where they are dictating to us.

Their solution to everything is to spend more than they have – arithmetic is not their strong suit – on things we don’t need. Then when they find themselves in catastrophic debt they set about fleecing the small businessman and hard-working individual for more money.

They create completely unnecessary and deliberately complex tax rules and regulations, the number of pages in the US tax code, for example, has increased by over 16,775 percent during the past 100 years! This in turn leads to Americans wasting an incredible 7.6 billion hours each year doing their taxes and having to hire over one million accountants to help them – all at a cost of almost $30 billion (that’s Billion with a ‘B’).

The big banks, run by greedy and extraordinarily stupid people (the best we have Obama says!) who have lost hundreds of billion of dollars and plunged the whole country into financial turmoil, are too big to fail. But ordinary individuals and small business owners are allowed to go bust every month and those that survive are harassed and investigated for the least mistake so that maybe another $1000 can be wrung out of them. On the other hand, multinational corporations get away with almost everything for no other reason than they have the money to employ the best accountants and lawyers who are more than a match for their IRS counterparts.

In 2008 for example, GE made $10.3 billion in pre-tax income, but didn’t have to pay a single cent in taxes. In 2009 Bank of America paid no taxes, even though it made $4.4 billion income. Also in 2009 Molson Coors not only paid no taxes, but was actually paid $14.7 million by the government. There are lots of other examples.

The loopholes and mechanisms these large corporations used are not important here, what we need to focus on is that there is something inherently wrong with the system that allows such inequalities. The solution is easy; simplify the system, level the playing field; give the little guy the same chance as the large corporation. It won’t happen, of course.

But that’s only half the problem. The other half is what the stupid bureaucrats do with the money.

The State of California is a good example. As well as all the federal taxes, California extracts a host of state taxes, including significant property taxes, from its citizens. And, despite the best efforts of the Terminator, California is still bust!

Why? Because most of the money it collects, and a lot more that it doesn’t have, is used to prop up the system of little empires the self-important idiocrats have created and are still creating regardless of the obvious financial woes.

The scale of the problem is horrendous, far worse than most people imagine. I don’t expect anyone to read the list below, but even scrolling through it should at the very least make you shake your head in amazement.

And this is just California!

*** End rant! ***

Feast your eyes on the work of the idiocracy….

State of California Bureaucracy:

California Academic Performance Index (API)

California Access for Infants and Mothers

California Acupuncture Board

California Administrative Office of the Courts

California Adoptions Branch

California African American Museum

California Agricultural Export Program

California Agricultural Labor Relations Board

California Agricultural Statistics Service

California Air Resources Board (CARB)

California Allocation Board

California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority

California Animal Health and Food Safety Services

California Anti-Terrorism Information Center

California Apprenticeship Council

California Arbitration Certification Program

California Architects Board

California Area VI Developmental Disabilities Board

California Arts Council

California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus

California Assembly Democratic Caucus

California Assembly Republican Caucus

California Athletic Commission

California Attorney General

California Bay Conservation and Development Commission

California Bay-Delta Authority

California Bay-Delta Office

California Biodiversity Council

California Board for Geologists and Geophysicists

California Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors

California Board of Accountancy

California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology

California Board of Behavioral Sciences

California Board of Chiropractic Examiners

California Board of Equalization (BOE)

California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection

California Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind

California Board of Occupational Therapy

California Board of Optometry

California Board of Pharmacy

California Board of Podiatric Medicine

California Board of Prison Terms

California Board of Psychology

California Board of Registered Nursing

California Board of Trustees

California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians

California Braille and Talking Book Library

California Building Standards Commission

California Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education

California Bureau of Automotive Repair

California Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair

California Bureau of Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation

California Bureau of Naturopathic Medicine

California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services

California Bureau of State Audits

California Business Agency

California Business Investment Services (CalBIS)

California Business Permit Information (CalGOLD)

California Business Portal

California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency

California Cal Grants

California CalJOBS

California Cal-Learn Program

California CalVet Home Loan Program

California Career Resource Network

California Cemetery and Funeral Bureau

California Center for Analytical Chemistry

California Center for Distributed Learning

California Center for Teaching Careers (Teach California)

California Chancellors Office

California Charter Schools

California Children and Families Commission

California Children and Family Services Division

California Citizens Compensation Commission

California Civil Rights Bureau

California Coastal Commission

California Coastal Conservancy

California Code of Regulations

California Collaborative Projects with UC Davis

California Commission for Jobs and Economic Growth

California Commission on Aging

California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers Compensation

California Commission on Judicial Performance

California Commission on State Mandates

California Commission on Status of Women

California Commission on Teacher Credentialing

California Commission on the Status of Women

California Committee on Dental Auxiliaries

California Community Colleges Chancellors Office, Junior Colleges

California Community Colleges Chancellors Office

California Complaint Mediation Program

California Conservation Corps

California Constitution Revision Commission

California Consumer Hotline

California Consumer Information Center

California Consumer Information

California Consumer Services Division

California Consumers and Families Agency

California Contractors State License Board

California Corrections Standards Authority

California Council for the Humanities

California Council on Criminal Justice

California Council on Developmental Disabilities

California Court Reporters Board

California Courts of Appeal

California Crime and Violence Prevention Center

California Criminal Justice Statistics Center

California Criminalist Institute Forensic Library

California CSGnet Network Management

California Cultural and Historical Endowment

California Cultural Resources Division

California Curriculum and Instructional Leadership Branch

California Data Exchange Center

California Data Management Division

California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission

California Delta Protection Commission

California Democratic Caucus

California Demographic Research Unit

California Dental Auxiliaries

California Department of Aging

California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs

California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Appeals Board

California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control

California Department of Boating and Waterways (Cal Boating)

California Department of Child Support Services (CDCSS)

California Department of Community Services and Development

California Department of Conservation

California Department of Consumer Affairs

California Department of Corporations

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

California Department of Developmental Services

California Department of Education

California Department of Fair Employment and Housing

California Department of Finance

California Department of Financial Institutions

California Department of Fish and Game

California Department of Food and Agriculture

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF)

California Department of General Services

California Department of General Services, Office of State Publishing

California Department of Health Care Services

California Department of Housing and Community Development

Californ ia Department of Industrial Relations (DIR)

California Department of Insurance

California Department of Justice Firearms Division

California Department of Justice Opinion Unit

California Department of Justice, Consumer Information, Public Inquiry Unit

California Department of Justice

California Department of Managed Health Care

California Department of Mental Health

California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)

California Department of Personnel Administration

California Department of Pesticide Regulation

California Department of Public Health

California Department of Real Estate

California Department of Rehabilitation

California Department of Social Services Adoptions Branch

California Department of Social Services

California Department of Technology Services Training Center (DTSTC)

California Department of Technology Services (DTS)

California Department of Toxic Substances Control

California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)

California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVets)

California Department of Water Resources

California Departmento de Vehiculos Motorizados

California Digital Library

California Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Certification Program

California Division of Apprenticeship Standards

California Division of Codes and Standards

California Division of Communicable Disease Control

California Division of Engineering

California Division of Environmental and Occupational Disease Control

California Division of Gambling Control

California Division of Housing Policy Development

California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement

California Division of Labor Statistics and Research

California Division of Land and Right of Way

California Division of Land Resource Protection

California Division of Law Enforcement General Library

California Division of Measurement Standards

California Division of Mines and Geology

California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA)

California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources

California Division of Planning and Local Assistance

California Division of Recycling

California Division of Safety of Dams

California Division of the State Architect

California Division of Tourism

California Division of Workers Compensation Medical Unit

California Division of Workers Compensation

California Economic Assistance, Business and Community Resources

California Economic Strategy Panel

California Education and Training Agency

California Education Audit Appeals Panel

California Educational Facilities Authority

California Elections Division

California Electricity Oversight Board

California Emergency Management Agency

California Emergency Medical Services Authority

California Employment Development Department (EDD)

California Employment Information State Jobs

California Employment Training Panel

California Energy Commission

California Environment and Natural Resources Agency

California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA)

California Environmental Resources Evaluation System (CERES)

California Executive Office

California Export Laboratory Services

California Exposition and State Fair (Cal Expo)

California Fair Political Practices Commission

California Fairs and Expositions Division

California Film Commission

California Fire and Resource Assessment Program

California Firearms Division

California Fiscal Services

California Fish and Game Commission

California Fisheries Program Branch

California Floodplain Management

California Foster Youth Help

California Franchise Tax Board (FTB)

California Fraud Division

California Gambling Control Commission

California Geographic I nformation Systems Council (GIS)

California Geological Survey

California Government Claims and Victim Compensation Board

California Governors Committee for Employment of Disabled Persons

California Governors Mentoring Partnership

California Governors Office of Emergency Services

California Governors Office of Homeland Security

California Governors Office of Planning and Research

California Governors Office

California Grant and Enterprise Zone Programs HCD Loan

California Health and Human Services Agency

California Health and Safety Agency

California Healthy Families Program

California Hearing Aid Dispensers Bureau

California High-Speed Rail Authority

California Highway Patrol (CHP)

California History and Culture Agency

California Horse Racing Board

California Housing Finance Agency

California Indoor Air Quality Program

California Industrial Development Financing Advisory Commission

California Industrial Welfare Commission

California InFoPeople

California Information Center for the Environment

California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (I-Bank)

California Inspection Services

California Institute for County Government

California Institute for Education Reform

California Integrated Waste Management Board

California Interagency Ecological Program

California Job Service

California Junta Estatal de Personal

California Labor and Employment Agency

California Labor and Workforce Development Agency

California Labor Market Information Division

California Land Use Planning Information Network (LUPIN)

California Lands Commission

California Landscape Architects Technical Committee

California Latino Legislative Caucus

California Law Enforcement Branch

California Law Enforcement General Library

California Law Revision Commission

California Legislative Analyst’s Office

California Legislative Black Caucus

California Legislative Counsel

California Legislative Division

California Legislative Information

California Legislative Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Caucus

California Legislature Internet Caucus

California Library De velopment Services

California License and Revenue Branch

California Major Risk Medical Insurance Program

California Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board

California Maritime Academy

California Marketing Services

California Measurement Standards

California Medical Assistance Commission

California Medical Care Services

California Military Department

California Mining and Geology Board

California Museum for History, Women, and the Arts

California Museum Resource Center

California National Guard

California Native American Heritage Commission

California Natural Community Conservation Planning Program

California New Motor Vehicle Board

California Nursing Home Administrator Program

California Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board

California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board

California Ocean Resources Management Program

California Office of Administrative Hearings

California Office of Administrative Law

California Office of AIDS

California Office of Binational Border Health

California Office of Child Abuse Prevention

California Office of Deaf Access

California Office of Emergency Services (OES)

California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment

California Office of Fiscal Services

California Office of Fleet Administration

California Office of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Implementation (CalOHI)

California Office of Historic Preservation

California Office of Homeland Security

California Office of Human Resources

California Office of Legal Services

California Office of Legislation

California Office of Lieutenant Governor

California Office of Military and Aerospace Support

California Office of Mine Reclamation

California Office of Natural Resource Education

California Office of Privacy Protection

California Office of Public School Construction

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Furious Flabbergasted Facebook Fools Face Frightening Falls From Fanciful Flagging Financial Flotation Farce

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

 

 

First of all, well done if you were one of the people who tried out the quiz. I hope you enjoyed it.

Today’s blog, if the alliterated title full of “f” words hasn’t given it away already, is regarding financial matters. No, hang on, stick with it. It’s not that bad really.

Were you one of the “zuckers” who bought shares in Facebook? I hope the answer is no, because it is another example of the stupidity and madness that greed can provoke in people who should know better, but frequently don’t.

Zuckerberg Pre-IPO
Zuckerberg Pre-IPO

I can’t predict the future, but I knew that the Facebook IPO would cost a lot of idiots a lot of money.

The IPO launch price was tagged at $38 per share or something like 100 times the company’s earnings. It is easy to know why they priced it so. They set the price that high because they thought they could get away with it. Because the herd, unknowing and unthinking, would swallow the crazy hype about the company and buy, buy, buy!

Does that show more than a little contempt for the people you want to invest in your company?  Sadly I think that it does. Not that it is all down to the greed of Zuckerberg. The advising and underwriting banks had a lot to do with it and we know for a fact that they have nothing but contempt for ordinary mortals like ourselves. We are the marks, they are the conmen!

Usually they take the time to milk us dry before abandoning the market and leaving the ordinary investor to lick their wounds. But this time it happened fast. Within hours in fact!

Those who were not in the “loop” and couldn’t buy pre-launch, waded in on launch day and bought, bought, bought from $38 right up to $45 which the shares reached for a couple of minutes.

zucker
zucker

The poor fools got whacked almost straight away.

The market very quickly began to realize it had been conned, that this was not a LinkedIn IPO and the issue price had been set far, far too high to ever double on launch. An element of sanity crept in. Facebook  promptly started to fall, by about 11%.

In other words if you’d invested $1000 in the morning you would have turned it into $868 in the space of a few hours. If you were unfortunate to buy at the peak price, your $1000 would now be worth just a little over $700. OUCH!

Zuckerberg Post-IPO
Zuckerberg Post-IPO

But it wasn’t just individual investors that got caught. Almost every large mutual fund etc., most of which are run by, let’s be kind and say, poorer quality managers, felt compelled to purchase Facebook shares, not because they though they were a good buy but because they saw other idiots doing the same and they were frightened about the possibility of missing out “the next Big Thing”.

Little do most investors realize, but the situation could have been even worse had the price not been artificially propped up for a while by the investment bank underwriters.

For the benefit of those who aren’t investors and/or who don’t know how the market works in things like this, here is a quick summary. IPOs are underwritten by investment banks like Morgan Stanley. The investment banks therefore have their reputations on the line. If the IPO goes really badly so does their reputation and their chances of being asked to underwrite future IPOs (and they get huge gigantic enormous fees for this work so they don’t want to lose it.)

Trust Me I'm A Banker
Trust Me I’m A Banker

Thus, in the case of Facebook, when the share price stopped climbing and quickly fell back to the $38 launch price, the investment bank underwriters stepped in and bought heavily. Without their intervention Facebook could have fallen catastrophically on its first day of trading.

Facebook does generate cash, mainly from advertising revenue. It has a vast following and that advertising revenue should rise substantially over time, so the company may one day be worth the $38 and even more. Google launched at $85 and is now worth $600, but it is a proven quantity revenue-wise and the price rise took time.

But, and it’s a big BUT, Facebook would need to be a hell of a lot better managed than at its market launch.

Thumbs DOWN Facebook stock IPO crash
Thumbs DOWN Facebook stock IPO crash

But for now, I’m with my other “mad” friend Jim Cramer of Mad Money fame who rightly and sensibly advised a pass on the Facebook IPO. There may be a time to buy into Facebook, but the writing on my wall says “not today thanks”. Booyah Jim!

Jim Cramer "Booyah!"
Jim Cramer “Booyah!”

There’s an obvious question that I haven’t addressed. It is, “So what do I think Facebook is worth?” Well for what my opinion on these matters is worth (i.e. probably not much) I would peg the value at a lot closer to $18 than $38. I may be right, or I may be wrong, but I really don’t care because I haven’t bought any. I might reconsider if it the price comes a bit closer to my valuation, but it’s only a might.

The small print. (I know it’s just the same size, WordPress didn’t tell me how to change it.)

Fasab disclaimer: this blog post does not constitute professional advice as regards investments on the stock exchange, such advice would only be given and indicated thus if an outrageous fee were being charged and this blog is being given to you for free. Also any investor should always be aware that shares can fall as well as plummet and should act accordingly by not investing any money they can not afford to lose.

 

 

All Men Are Created Equal – Really?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

There was always something wrong with the phrase “All men are created equal”.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful aspiration but it’s just not true. Yes everyone should have an equal chance to do what they want to do and have equal rights, which I think is really what the phrase is meant to say.

But for better or worse people are not created equal. Some are academically gifted, but they couldn’t screw in a light bulb! Other people can wire up an entire house or building effortlessly, but academically don’t perform. There are people with natural practical skills and people who are exam passing machines. One isn’t better than the other – just different.

Sadly western society’s answer to the fact that we are different is to try to make us all the same and that just does not work. In Britain for example, the government’s answer was comprehensive education. Piling everyone in to the same classes, where no one could learn faster than the dumbest person in the room. In the US there is little financial incentive to attract talented teaching staff, without which the standards in schools cannot progress, quite the reverse in fact.

On the other hand, for many years in communist regimes where everyone was supposed to be the same, those who had a talent, whether athletically and otherwise, were given far greater encouragement to development than the rest.

If you have a gift or talent for playing a musical instrument like the violin or piano you should be allowed to study in a specialist music school. If you have a gift or talent for academia you should be allowed to progress through university, get your PhD and cloister yourself away doing research that may or may not have practical applications that you will never realize. If you have practical skills you should be encouraged to learn a trade to enable you to earn a good living doing something you are good at and enjoy. And if you have an entrepreneurial flare you should be assisted and encouraged to create companies and employ people, not hampered by stupid bureaucrats who try to enforce even stupider and unnecessary government regulations and restrictions on you.

And so on, and so on.

All this can be illustrated, as can most things, with a graph called a normal distribution curve (sometimes also referred to as a “standard deviation curve”). This is just a fancy name for a graph that shows that the vast majority of people are relatively close to “normal” in that they conform more or less to a standard, whether that be IQ, height, weight or whatever.

standard deviation curve

Take intelligence for example. At one extreme end of the IQ scale (say less than 1% of the population) you have the Einsteins and Mozarts whose gifts in their respective categories are well beyond the norm. And at the other end of the scale you have the people who do not express a talent for anything. Certainly not anything productive and useful.

These are the people who invariably are employed by the government and big corporations and who quite often unnecessarily make our lives a misery. We have already looked at some examples of these people in this blog, and will no doubt do so again.

On the other hand there are people like the painter on the scaffolding whose dumbness serves, perhaps to frustrate a little, but mostly to entertain.

Our late friend from yesterday, George Carlin, expressed the problem very well. George said, “Just think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider!”

Here are a few other examples.

There was the guy, identity unknown, who in 1976 made the most unsuccessful hijack attempt ever. On a flight across America, he rose from his seat, drew a gun and took the stewardess hostage.

“Take me to Detroit,” he demanded.

“We’re already going to Detroit,” she replied.

“Oh… good,” he said, and sat down again.

Or the three British men who, in August 1975, were on their way in to rob the Royal Bank of Scotland at Rothesay, when they got stuck in the revolving doors. They had to be helped free by the staff and, after thanking everyone, sheepishly left the building.

A few minutes later they returned and announced their intention of robbing the bank, but none of the staff believed them. When they demanded 5,000 pounds in cash, the head cashier laughed at them, convinced that it was a practical joke.

Then one of the men jumped over the counter, but fell to the floor clutching his ankle. The other two tried to make their getaway, but got trapped in the revolving doors again.

And just in case you think I’m just picking on the unfortunates in the US and UK, what about 52-year-old Walter Schoegl, the drunk bank robber in Mainz, Germany, who tried to hold up his local bank armed with a water pistol and a potato peeler, and with a stocking over his head?

He demanded cash, but left with nothing after the bank teller told him that the bank had run out of money.

When he was arrested about five minutes later he was still wearing the stocking on his head.

And finally, a short scene showing a similar kind of bank raid. It’s from the 1989 movie “Three Fugitives”, if you haven’t heard of it or seen it, it’s well worth a look.