Okay, I Give Up – Show Me The Money!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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money

I know it isn’t quiz day today, but this is just a short post to ask one very pertinent question – one that deserves an answer.

Quantitative Easing ended on Wednesday past.

QE was the media tag given to the process whereby the US Federal Reserve has printed $3.6 trillion over the past few years.

Quantitative Easing

The Bank of England did it in Britain too, and so did the European Central Bank for the European Union.

So where did all that money go?

I didn’t get any of it.

Did you?

But it must have gone somewhere.

Someone must have got it.

So where is it now?

If you know the answer please do tell. I, and I am sure many other people, would be interested in the answer.

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It’s The Fasab Fact Feature.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Yes, time for some more facts to feature here at the fasab blob.

Hope you find something interesting in this selection.

Enjoy.

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facts 04

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Mice, whales, elephants, giraffes and man

all have seven neck vertebra.

neck vertebrae

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There have been many legends about the Northern Lights.

Some North American Inuit tribes call the aurora „aqsarniit“

(meaning “football players”) thinking it is the spirits of the dead

playing football with a head of a walrus.

Northern Lights

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The feeling you get when something is so cute

you can’t help but want to squeeze it

is called “cute aggression”.

cute aggression

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The Ivory Coast is by far the world’s leading producer of cocoa beans.

About 37 percent of all the cocoa beans in the world come from here.

Cocoa_Pods

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On a dewy morning, if you look at your shadow in the grass,

the dew drops shine light back to your eye creating a halo

called a heilgenschein (German for halo.)

Heiligenschein

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Your brain continues to develop until your late 40s.

brain

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According to the Guinness Book of World Records,

the largest sausage was made by J.J. Tranfield on behalf of

Asda Stores Plc, at Sheffield, United Kingdom in October 2000.

With a length of 36.75 miles (59.143 kilometers),

it’s almost the width of Rhode Island.

world's biggest sausage

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The McKinley Building on the American University campus

has been used for the development of several hazardous products,

such as Mustard Gas and preliminary work on the Manhattan Project.

The government used the McKinley Building because of its unusual architecture.

If there would be any type of large explosion inside the building,

the building would implode onto itself, containing any lethal gas or nuclear material.

The building now houses the Physics Department.

McKinley Building on the American University campus

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There is a language in Botswana that

consists of 5 primary click sounds

botswana-language-phrases

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Window washer Chris Saggers was working on the 22nd floor of the

Salford Tower Blocks in Britain when he fell off of his scaffold,

plunging down 220 feet, and landing on top of a car.

Miraculously, after the fall, he simply stood up and told the on lookers “I’m fine”.

A medical exam revealed that Saggers’ only injury was a broken elbow.

Salford_tower_blocks window washer Chris Saggers

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The last NASCAR driver to serve jail time for

running moonshine was Buddy Arrington.

Buddy Arrington

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Born in 1921 in Connecticut, Haroutune Krikor Daghlian, Jr was

an Armenian American physicist who worked for the Manhattan Project

(research and development project that produced the first atomic bombs).

He accidentally irradiated himself in August, 1945, during a critical mass

experiment at the remote Omega Site facility in New Mexico.

He died just 25 days later.

Haroutune Krikor Daghlian, Jr

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All porcupines float in water.

porcupines float in water

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Woodward Ave in Detroit, Michigan

carries the designation M-1, named so

because it was the first paved road anywhere.

woodward-avenue-detroit-michigan

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The Les Nessman character on the TV series WKRP in Cincinnati

wore a band-aid in every episode.

Either on himself, his glasses, or his clothing.

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Charles Munger Agrees With Me.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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I always think it’s nice when someone agrees me. Even more so when they are well versed in the subject matter.

Charles Munger is such a guy. And he agrees with me, or at least he would do, had he read a post I wrote recently about Burger King’s move to Canada to avoid high US corporate taxes. (Click here if you want to read it.)

Anyway, we’re saying the same thing, and that’s what matters.

For those readers who don’t know who Charles Munger is, he is vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the world famous investment company headed by Warren Buffet, one of the richest men in the world.

Charlie_Munger

Munger says people who criticize Burger King’s plan to shift its headquarters to Canada, where tax rates are lower, are “stark raving mad”. What they should be calling for are cuts in corporate taxes to encourage business to stay in the US and even relocate there.

More than 40 U.S. companies have reincorporated abroad since 1982.

In fairness it has to be said that Munger does have a vested interest of sorts to stick up for Burger King. Berkshire Hathaway committed $3 billion to help finance Miami-based Burger King’s planned takeover of Tim Hortons Inc., the doughnut maker with headquarters in Oakville, Ontario.

Burger King meal

But that’s not why he said what he said. He is smart enough to know what is good for business generally and levying hefty taxes on corporations is not good. In fact he said, “If I were running the world, I would probably have low corporate taxes and get at the well-to-do people in some other way, like consumption taxes.”

Unfortunately President Barack Obama isn’t so smart. He has continued to criticize American companies that move to other nations in search of lower corporate tax bills.

And his Treasury Secretary, Jacob J. Lew, has recently announced new rules aimed at making it more difficult for American companies to lower their tax bills by relocating overseas and that would wipe out the benefits for those that do.

The changes will affect only deals that are completed from now on. But they could include pending inversion deals, like the one involving AbbVie, an Illinois-based pharmaceutical company that is in the process of acquiring its smaller British rival, Shire, or the Minneapolis medical device maker Medtronic, which is acquiring Covidien in Ireland.

And if the government continues on this path what will happen?

I think if US companies are prevented from making these kind of deals by ever greedy and intrusive government legislation they will simply close down altogether in the US. Wealth creation will be lost, many thousands of jobs will be lost and America will lose its long held position as the commercial powerhouse of the world.

When the American people were offered “Change” I don’t think this is what they were expecting.

Barack Obama Hope Change

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Poor Oliver Buckworth!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Anyone who has traveled by air anywhere in the world since the 9/11 attacks has been the victim of the idiotic security measures at airports.

Belts off, shoes off, laptops out, body scan or grope – you know the drill. All useless and ineffective and there, like a lot of other stuff, to give the impression that the government is doing something when in reality it is doing nothing.

And as always the stupid rules are enforced by even stupider people.

So, who is poor Oliver Buckworth?

He’s a 28-year-old Melbourne-based interior designer, a threat to no one, and a victim of the security morons that infest air travel these days.

You see Oliver was on a flight in Australia, on a carrier called Tiger Airways. To pass the time he started doodling in a note pad he had with him.

The doodle said “In a land of melting ice-cream, sandy feet and fluffy bears, how could anybody be fearful of terrorism?” and along with it was a visual pun with the word “terrorismadeup” picked out in different colors to suggest that “terror is made up”. Being an interior designer he also drew a chandelier on the same page.

Now you are probably asking, what exactly was his crime?

Doodling with intent to do what?

Not taking the air travel security farce seriously enough?

Having a sense of humor?

Or just getting bored and passing the time with his note pad and pen?

A busybody passenger sitting near Buckworth reported his doodle to the airline staff, who, instead of telling the other passenger to wise up, took the whole thing seriously. Yes, they were as stupid as the busybody passenger.

Apparently Tiger Airways have a “zero tolerance” policy “towards inappropriate and antisocial behavior” which seemed to include Oliver’s doodle. He said he was writing a sentence about the absurdity of recent fear-mongering statements about the threat of possible terrorist attacks, but it was enough to have him thrown off the plane and handed over to the Australian Federal Police.

To be fair to the police, after doing a background check on Oliver they realized that the airline idiots hadn’t uncovered the next Osama Bin Laden and they didn’t take any further action.

But, choosing not to involve themselves with common sense, Tiger Airways banned him from using the airline again, not that he’d probably want to now anyway.

Well done Tiger Airways, you done Australia proud – I think not!

Here’s Oliver’s doodle, make up your own mind.

the Buckworth doodle

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Come On Obama, Stick Them In The Slamma!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Around this time last month I wrote a post about the explosion of sub-prime credit for people seeking automobile loans they couldn’t afford. Here’s a link if you missed it – click here. 

They say that if you don’t learn from what happened in the past you are doomed to repeat it. And it is clear the banksters have learned nothing, mainly because the government was not man enough to teach them a lesson when they almost brought the country to its knees. Their greed was excused and rewarded, not punished in any meaningful and lasting way.

So now we have the auto loans credit explosion, which is another mini sub-prime disaster in the making. And again it is being egged on by the stupidity and greed of Wall Street who just can’t pass on the chance to reap big profits from those people silly enough to take their high interest loans.

greedy banksters

This time, however, it turns out some of the people in positions of power are beginning to recognize that this is becoming a big problem.

The regulators and prosecutors are starting to worry about the level of lending abuses. Not only that but they are also recognizing the similarities with the home loans fiasco that eventually resulted in the financial crisis.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has recently fined subprime auto lender First Investors Financial Services Group Inc. $2.75 million for knowingly providing inaccurate information to credit reporting agencies for at least three years. It was a “computer error” don’t you know, and, of course, they paid the fine but without admitting any liability – perish the thought!

It should come as no surprise that First Investors Financial Services Group is owned by a prominent New York private equity firm.

And like the mortgage sub-prime fraud, the banksters and other money men are not only screwing the people who take out the loans, but once again they are re-packaging them up as “good investments” for their richer clients too.

A United States attorney in Manhattan, has already begun an investigation into whether lenders have sold questionable auto-loan investments to investors, and has sent subpoenas to General Motors Financial and Santander Consumer USA, to try to find out whether the lenders fully disclosed to investors the creditworthiness of borrowers whose loans made up the complicated securities.

sub prime loans

Last time they got away with it. Will this time be any different? You have a lot more faith in the system than me if you think it will. All that is happening so far is tokenism. They need a lot more than a slap on the wrist.

In China or Vietnam and some other locations banksters committing fraud are stood up against a wall a shot. That’s maybe a little harsh, but at the very least some serious jail time is in order.

The fact is the banksters are doing it again because they think that they can get away with it again. And if they get away with it this time, then they’ll do it yet again in the future. All the time racking up fortunes for themselves and leaving the other poor sods, who didn’t know any better than to take out their loans or buy their toxic investments, a lot poorer.

the expendables

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Why Are The Bureaucrats Destroying What Made America Great?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The Sunday Sermon

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Since the government and bureaucrats in the United States abandoned the business-friendly environment that made the country the greatest and wealthiest nation on earth, and replaced that with a legislative and wealth redistributing strategy that is anything but business-friendly, there has been a growing trend for successful companies to leave the US.

It should have been obvious – and indeed it was – to everyone but the morons in Washington. 

 

obama cartoon big government

The latest to try to make a move out of the United States is the pharmaceutical giant AbbVie, currently based outside Chicago, Illinois, but not for much longer if they get their way.

Using a $53 billion acquisition of the Jersey-registered, Irish-headquartered global specialty biopharmaceutical company “Shire”, a deal that will allow Abbvie to reincorporate elsewhere, it plans to leave the high tax US for a more advantageous business environment.

By making this move and escaping United States tax rates, Abbvie will pay lower taxes on its international earnings, get access to overseas cash more cheaply, and be able to acquire other companies without making their earnings subject to United States taxes.

Abbvie

And Abbvie is not alone.

There has been a rush of companies wanting to get out of the United States. Health care companies in particular, such as Medtronic, Mylan, Actavis, Perrigo, Jazz Pharmaceuticals and Endo, have pursued these “inversion deals”, as they are called, with particular zeal.

The moral of the story is simply this.

When a country forgets what has made it great and instead turns into something quite the opposite, all the reasons for its greatness disappear. And the United States is doing this at a time when it is heavily in debt – the most indebted nation in the world by a long way.

The short-termism of trying to grab as much money as possible from companies and individuals will end in failure and disaster for all. People like Obama try to put a fancy misleading name on it and call it “wealth redistribution”. What it really is, is a major disincentive for anyone to want to set up and do business in the United States.

redistribution-of-wealth

And as you would expect, the idiots in Washington aren’t scratching their heads and wondering why more and more companies are opting to leave the US. Instead the bureaucrats are trying to think of ways to make it illegal for companies like Abbvie to adopt this strategy. 

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew has already sent letters to senior members of Congress, encouraging them to pass legislation halting inversions. The legislation being considered by some lawmakers would be retroactive, and if passed, could impede AbbVie’s ability to reincorporate overseas.

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew

And proving that stupidity is a cross party phenomenon, on Thursday, Senator Orrin G. Hatch, the Utah Republican who is the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, responded to calls from the Obama administration to crack down on inversions by saying he supported a short-term fix, although he suggested that the administration’s initial proposal went too far.

Senator Orrin G. Hatch

It seems fairly logical in my mind that the way to stop this growing exodus, which in the longer term will leave the US a lot poorer and a lot more of its citizens out of work, is to legislate to reduce tax bills, not increase them; to give businesses an incentive to invest and expand in the United States, not to drive them away; and to encourage entrepreneurs to relocate TO the US rather than scramble to get out.

Of course, that’s just in my head. All that is in the heads of the idiot bureaucrats in Washington is self-defeating rubbish like increase minimum wages, increase healthcare contributions, increase taxation, introduce capital controls, increase government bureaucracy so more debt is piled up and the USD$ weakens further, and of course start a few more wars to distract the people from the mess that is being made at home.

So, to pose the question in the title of this post again, why are the bureaucrats destroying what made America great?

Your guess is as good as mine, although while some obviously have malicious intent, I wouldn’t entirely rule out plain old stupidity!

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Thinking Of Buying A Smart Phone?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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We all know that one of Steve Jobs favorite things was selling people well designed goods at vastly over inflated prices. People who were obsessed by having the latest gimmicks, bought his stuff in droves at whatever price Jobs put on them and in the process made Apple one of the richest companies in the world.

That’s what you call business, not quite ethical perhaps, but if you can get away with it and you can find people who are silly enough to pay far too much for your goods then why not?

What the creation of this ‘new’ market also did was spawn clones or look-a-likes from companies wanting to cash in on the windfall initially created by Apple.

Many of these are quite legitimate, like the Samsung Galaxy models which have become just as popular as the iPhones and are just as good, if not better, IMHO.

But what has also happened is that the same success has spawned a series of non-legitimate clones – from China – which look the same and provide many of the same functions, although the build quality as with much of the junk emanating from China is very poor.

smart phones
Apple Iphone, Samsung Galaxy S5, Star N9500

So, getting back to the question posed in the title of this post, if you are thinking of buying yourself a smart phone – and you are also thinking of saving a bit of money and buying one of those iPhone or Samsung Galaxy look-a-likes from China – think again.

This week a German firm called ‘G Data’ (which has a US subsidiary) released information that a popular brand of Chinese-made smart phone, the ‘Star N9500’, which is sold internationally by several major retailers, including Amazon.com, has been found to contain pre-installed monitoring software – that’s spy software to you and me.

G Data said it discovered the spy software hidden deep inside the proprietary software found on the Star N9500, which is a cheap smart phone based on the popular Samsung Galaxy S4.

malware

The hidden software contained within the phone’s operating system includes applications that could allow a third party to access and steal the telephone user’s personal information.

There are also secret applications that could permit a hacker to place calls from the telephone, or utilize the device’s microphone and camera without the consent of its owner.

And malware like this can not only allow hackers to access the telephone, but also any computers connected to it.

spy software

It was also discovered that the stolen data was being sent to a server based in, where else, China.

Adding to the intrigue, G Data’s team of experts and several journalists tried for “over a week” to track down the manufacturer of the Star N9500 by contacting several companies located in China’s southern province of Shenzhen, known as the center of the country’s telecommunications industry, but were unable to do so.

This isn’t the first time hidden spyware has been discovered in the operating software of telecommunications hardware made in China, and it probably won’t be the last.

But don’t get completely paranoid just because you read this post or other articles like it.

Just realize that the convenience that this latest technology provides, also provides criminals (which includes spying governments, you listening ennn esss ey?) easier access to your personal information.

And act accordingly.

Phone Spy Software

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