Monday, September 29, 2014

Why Does the USDA Need Machine Guns?

Well, to kill people?

The USDA has no history of being the target of violence.  But they do have the mantra "get big or get out."

Do you think they'll bring machine guns when they visit ADM or Cargill?   Nooooo....
“What we have seen happen, with the FDA especially, is they have come onto small farms, raw milk producers, and raided the heck out of them with armed agents present,” says Liz Reitzig, co-founder of the Farm Food Freedom Coalition. “Do we really want to have our federal regulatory agencies bring submachine guns onto these family farms with children?”
I'd ask why we have federal regulators at all, but yes, if so, why machine guns? Because the pendulum is swinging back, small farms are resurrecting, and the USDA mantra is get big or get out.  Time to bring straight fire power to people who disagree with government policy and try to create good food.

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The Ebola Scam

Liberia was set up by the USA as a "ship 'em back to Africa" thing, in order to keep manumitted slaves freed in USA from allowing current slaves to know Americans of African ancestry could actually handle freedom.  Can't have that.  And as if paying quite a price to become an American, they were not Americans.

We now have an africa Command, and it needs something to do, so we make up stories about boogie men, Boku Harum, the Khorasam group, and ebola crises.  This is how it works:
Here in Liberia, everyone is excited about the millions of US dollars being poured in to “fight Ebola,” and everyone wants a piece of the pie.  A certain NGO out in rural Liberia quarantined a village, claiming they’d tested and found three cases. They applied for and received US$ 250,000 to fight Ebola in this village.  They brought in a few sacks of rice and some chlorine.  The villagers mobbed the trucks and carried off the plunder.  And, miracle of miracles, not a single person died in the village.
Great effort at treating and controlling Ebola?  Or pretending there’s Ebola in order to pocket some easy cash?  I’ve never heard of a 0% fatality rate for Ebola, but you make the call.
The doctor in the article is too nice.  As long as people are dying, then there is a crisis that the USA military MUST solve.  For a insiders report on the evil of NGOs, read Michael Maren's The Road to Hell.    It's listed on the left of this page as one of my basic readings for those in int'l trade, scroll down, get it read it.  He has never been disputed as to the names named and events portrayed.



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Swiss Reject ObamaCare

The founders looked to remarkably free Switzerland for inspiration in founding the USA.  After a more radical polity quickened in USA, the Swiss doubled down inspired by USA and became even more free.  The we had a civil war, and went all imperialist.  The Swiss plodded along without any competition, and when faced with bad ideas, actually vote on it.  And Swiss elections are not rigged, as here in USA.

Geneva (AFP) - Swiss voters on Sunday rejected a plan for a seismic shift from the country's all-private health insurance system to a state-run scheme.
Referendum results showed that almost 62 percent of voters had shot down a reform pushed by left-leaning parties which say the current private system is busting the budgets of ordinary residents.

The funny thing about the article is it says Obama (Romney) based their wel-care on the Swiss model.  Hahaaha...  to emulate the Swiss, you have to start with legitimate elections, not similar words.

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Hong Kong Protests & Li Ka Shing

Li Ka Shing is Hong Kong's most famous billionaire, in a comity which produces five times the billionaire per capit than the USA.  He made his move in the 1960s, the last time Hong Kong was rocked by regime related protests. This plastic flower maker reasoned that for all the complaints, Hong Kong was not going anywhere soon, so as Rothschilde advised, invest when the blood is flowing in the streets.  Li bought when the rich were selling to get out.


 Note that the rioters, mostly students, want Beijing rule.

 Today Li is the one getting out, but today he is a rich man not a poor boy.  What took great courage in 1967 to buy, takes as great courage today to sell.  The fact that Li is selling is putting his entire empire on the line.  Certainly the ChiComs note well his action.  And the fact of the matter is the Communist Party could take down Li and his empire within fifteen minutes of deciding to do so.  It takes guts to run those risks.

But Li also knows that China is a work in progress, countless factions and endless infighting, and he'll have his supporters and detractors in those fights.  He is by the way offering some wealth redistribution as his action lower the prices on what he has, and is allowing some young turks with an eye to the future to invest well right now.

Not sure what the goal should be by the protesters, but I sure do not like the sound of "occupy central" since it is redolent of the USA occupy movement which was organized around not amelioration but "more free $#*+ for me", just as the Scotland vote was not about freedom but more gimmees.  Who knows how a freedom vote might turn out in Scotland.

Here is a sample of the riots today.  The irony this time is the rioters, mostly students, want to be free of Beijing.  Bet this is largely youthful expression, and not existential.

A vote for governor which allows for the election of only the winners and runners up of a Beijing political beauty contest is not such a bad idea, as long as the directly elected LegCo in Hong Kong can impeach the same.  Let Beijing essentially appoint a Lord Governor, it worked well enough when the Brits did it.  Is Beijing any less than the UK?

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Pucker

Do you like to travel?


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I Want To Give Back To The Community

As soon as I hear these words, or similar sentiments, my hackles rise.  My instant reply is "What did you steal from the community?"

People who have repented of a secret theft will want to do the right thing, make restitution, and pay back what they stole.

The other use of the term is to pay back a loan of some sort.  OK, so you want to pay back a loan?  Is that something remarkable with you, that we would all celebrate something you ought to do anyway?   "Today I am going to help an old lady across the street!"  Thus spake hero?

The words come from wordsmiths who craft buzz words to at once please the searching and warn the enlighteners.  The searchers pick up the line assuming is strikes the right note.  The enlighteners hear it and assume either knave or fool.

We need always a separation of charity and business.  They can never mix.  Age quod agis.  When doing charity, do it.  When doing business, do it.

"Giving back" is a sort of emotional blackmail.  You are no longer testing your offering, you are confusing your product offer by adding "it's for the children."  Hard buyers hear diversion and extra expense.  If you want to give up some of your natural profits to charity, that is your business, but as the advice goes, don't let the left hand know what the right hand is doing.  Certainly Apple will do a "red ipod" at a higher price to support aids cure in Africa, and no doubt picks up some corporate sales or who knows what, but in no way will Apple allow itself to be essentially associated with a cause.  Calvin Klein was notorious for refusing to allow his company to be in any way associated with the AIDS prevention and cure movement, and as is good business practice, what support he did give was otherwise unknown.  Companies whose essential offer is "giving back" all fail, as far as I can see, over the last 40 years.

Apple (Jobs) and Calvin Klein have certainly given more to the communities then their communities have ever given them, but really there is no accounting.  The idea that the political economy in which they thrive fostered their success may be true, but it ignores the fact that the same political economy has robbed countless others of success.  The question isn't what we are owed by those few who make it through the welfare/warfare klepto-gauntlet, but what system allows more people to succeed.

At the same time, the Catholic church recognizees small business startup as an act of charity, a teaching I am trying to figure out, but certainly putting every cent you have into business helps others at the most fundamental level.  And all religions see the act of a loan (not at interest) as an act of charity.  Small businesses extend credit commonly.

And customer-employed (AKA self-employed) you yourself are kept off the dole.

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Spooner on Banking

Lysander Spooner is probably one of the greatest Americans you never heard of.  He was what we today would call and anarcho-capitalist, and I've been reading him in relation to banking.  He was very well known in his time.

All of his works are amazing to read, if for nothing else to see what people argued over 150 years ago.  Today we cannot imagine there was ever a time or place when people discussed right and wrong, or the role of government.

As an anarchist Spooner simply did his own thing, becoming a lawyer without going to school (still allowed in Washington State)  but skipping the 5 year apprenticeship required by law.  His arguments were so effective the State of Massachusetts had to rewrite the rules to accommodate him.  Can you imagine today a state ever changing rules to meet logic and right?  He lays waste the arguments for state licensing.

He saw no reason for the monopoly on mail, so he set up as a competitor to the US Post Office.  He was quite successful, but of course as is to this day, the Feds were too big to fight.  The Feds of course adopted all of his popular ideas, and then ruined them.  Today we have people who tried to set up alternatives to the internet who have met more harsh treatment.  Whereas government once would at least argue, now it is "off to prison" with you.

His particular book I am reading now on banking was written in 1873, and his advice was eventually embraced, extended, distorted into what we have today.  He would be appalled at what happened to his ideas.  The book was in response to the scorched earth policies of the republicans (today embraced by democrats too) on the South, and how to introduce capital and competition.

Think if you owned a $250,000 home free and clear.  The you might create a title to monetize your house at say $200,000.  Warranted by this title, you would issue $200,000 worth of currency, in 1, 5, 10, 20 and 100 notes.  Then you could spend it, how?

Say farmers are started to grow wheat down the road.  There is no mill close by.  Locally y'all will do well if there is a mill close by.  So you spend the $200,000 buying land, hiring builders, hauling in a millstone, hiring architects, and get the mill built.  Now in essence, where there was just once a house, now there is a house and a mill.  Where you once owned a house, now you own a mill, and all of the people who took your currency now have claim on your house, so you live in the house, but do not own it free and clear any more.  It has more moving parts, but over time the mill generates profits which you use to extinguish your debts, that is the currency you lent out against the value of your house.

He notes the obvious, that in an economy gold and silver as money is very little used.  It is credit that builds communities, and lack thereof that stifles them.  Access to credit is how the bankers control who wins and who loses in USA.  Who can issue currency is strictly controlled, and the same elite force (Secret Service) that protects the currency "protects" the president (although they tend to be notorious whoremongers, substance abusers and keep the president in line for the bankers by allowing scary people to get near the president.)  Spooner asks the obvious question "Why do we allow the government to control banking?"  In fact the legal fiction is we do not, that the Federal Reserve System is a private corporation, owned by its members.    It is a monopoly, and its owners do not allow it to be audited.  It's credibility is backed by American threat of force worldwide.

There is nothing new in his ideas, except to say it was not allowed.  It is now allowed, indeed, maxxed out, embraced and extended into lending mostly against no assets whatsoever.  By giving government backing, that is violence, to support lending against no assets, there has been no logical limit to what we can do.  And we have decided to make wars, debilitate segments of society, pollute, ad nauseum.  Spooner knew you could not trust government to get anything right.

Banking has a fascinating history in USA, and Spooner does a great job of breaking down the raison d'etre of the USA to banking and bankers' central role in control and exploitation.

Spooners arguments were consistently admired by his opponents. He got as far as he could, and it is an eye opener to read the quality of the arguments back then.  Wish we had more people who could argue and think today.  Wish that people gave anarchy serious consideration.

I part ways with Spooner as he makes usury central to this system, when it is simply not necessary.  He does not make it mandatory, and maybe he was being polemical by including it.  But if he supports it, then that makes him an anarcho-capitalist, not a straight anarchist.

This edition is a reprint, and not stellar, but readable, and valuable for a experience of time and place, back when USA and Hong Kong seemed so much more alike, closer to the roots of both.
A New Banking System The Needful Capital for Rebuilding the Burnt District



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Ex Im Bank Funds Andalou Naturals

This is fair warning to investors and customers, that according to the ExIm Bank, this company relies upon  corporate welfare:
Founded by Stacey Egide in 2010, Andalou Naturals, a small business-exporter based in Novato, Calif., relies upon Ex-Im Bank to sell natural and organic products for skin, hair, and body care abroad. The company currently employs 21 employees in CaliforniaOhioNew York, TexasIllinois, and Colorado.
 (Emphasis added) I wonder if Andalou notes its reliance upon the ExIm Bank in its financial statements.
"Ex-Im's export credit insurance is designed to support small businesses like Andalou Natural expand their exporting portfolio by neutralizing the risk of nonpayment," said Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg. "In California alone, Ex-Im Bank has authorized $11 billion to support $23 billion inCalifornia small business exports since fiscal year 2007."
Even if any of that is true, how come the majority of exporters need no such help?  If it is designed to help small business, why does almost all of it go to large businesses?
Andalou Natural has become a repeat policyholder of Ex-Im Bank's export credit insurance and expanded their export reach to TaiwanMalaysiaSouth Korea,SingaporeJapanThailandIndonesiaVietnam, and the U.A.E. Total company revenue currently amounts to $18 million, approximately 15 percent of which is export-related. "By providing affordable accounts receivable export insurance, Ex-Im Bank has given us the opportunity to expand at a much faster rate and has broadened our pool of possible importers," said Mark Egide, President of Andalou Naturals.
OK, so about $2.5 million is at taxpayers risk.  But how come other exporters need no such help?  What about the risk to taxpayers these programs run?  Sure, there are all sorts of things that can be done to speed up processes if you privatize the profits and socialize the losses.  How is this any different than Bank of America?
"Ex-Im Bank support has allowed us to hire an export manager and a sales-support assistant as we have expanded. Without this insurance coverage, we would require prospective importers to pre-pay for their orders, and this typically limits the number of companies who show interest."
I thought you said the money was for export insurance, not hiring staff.  No objection to hiring staff, but much objection to expanding the false economy, and misallocating resources and malinvestment at taxpayers risk.   Yes, EZ Cheap credit does expand the customer pool to include people who otherwise would not make it overseas.  It does not mean you would have NO business, it only means your competitors in USA find their customers overseas losing out to sketchy buyers competing overseas.  In this way, among many others, ExIm Bank harms USA exporters.
Export credit insurance enables companies to increase export sales by limiting their risk of non-payment by purchasing an insurance policy, just as someone limits their risk of fire by purchasing homeowners insurance. 
Well, not "just as" in any way. Most exporters limit their risk by being prepaid, a rather fool proof method.  Companies do not "purchase" insurance, and we end up with the bad debt on taxpayers books, while ExIM Bank books bad debt as "assets."  One limits the risk of fire by safety measures and being careful.  ExIM Bank loans foster carelessness.  If your house does burn down, you've paid a full premium amortized for risk.  ExIM Bank loans are so heavily subsidized and cheap that losses are immaterial to the company.  Compare getting your money from another source to having to deal with your house burnt down.  The Ex Im people are dishonest in their PR.

There are perfectly viable ways of organically growing export business with any ExIm Bank interference.  Almost all exporters do it.  But ExIM Bank does give you and edge by privatizing profits and socializing losses, misallocating resources to picked winners while harming the ones who do not take welfare.

The ExIM bank, along with its recent push for reauthorization, now hides who gets loans and the losses incurred, so, as with most government programs, there is no possible oversight, like the IRS (tea party scandals) or the DEA (fast and furious).

An interesting study would be to learn who got loans, the effect on their competitors, and the loss rate, plus any correlation between loans granted and political contributions.  If we have to pay for the success of these companies who report they rely upon the ExIM bank, then we really should know what we are getting.

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Cotton: Get Paid To Create Glut

The USA has a program where farmers get paid to create a glut.
Lower demand from top-importer China and bigger production in the U.S., the No. 1 exporter, are expected to lead to the largest global glut of the fiber in history...
To help farmers with operating expenses, the federal government offers cotton growers nine-month loans at a rate of 52 cents a pound, which are secured with the fiber. Late Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture calculated its adjusted world-price-a proxy for the physical price of the fiber-for the week beginning Friday at 52.61 cents a pound.
When the USDA's world price falls below the loan rate, the government allows cotton farmers to pay back their loans at the world price rather than the higher price at which they took the loans. Farmers also have the option to forgo a loan and simply receive a payment that equals the amount by which the loan rate exceeds the USDA's world price when they sell their cotton.
The last time the government made a payment under its cotton loan program was in 2009, according to the USDA. That year's total was $5.5 million. Between 1999 and 2009, the average annual cost of the loan program was $332 million.
1. Every dealer on planet earth saw the lower demand from China coming, how come we did not plant less.  Because you make money either way.

2.  How come cotton growers are guaranteed a price, and not coffee shops, or copy shops, or shoe shine parlors, or appliance repair shops?  Or your business?

3. The average $300 million is money taken from USA taxpayers, and leads to the ruin of overseas producer who cannot compete with USA dumping of cotton.  This is another reason why so many people around the world want to kill USA citizens.

We really ought to "have a conversation" about why people want to kill us.   I know it is easier to say "because they are Muslims" but it just might be another reason.

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Russia Goes Up Market

In response to the idiotic sanctions on Russia for USA destabilizing the Ukraine, the Russians seem to be going for an "import substitution" program.  If the import supply is going to be iffy anyway, just curtail it overall and watch domestic provisions grow.
Reports all showed a sharp decrease in farm and seafood produce to Russia in recent years. Prior to 2009, the products accounted for 50-60 percent of Vietnam’s exports to Russia but the proportion has dropped to 10 percent.
Nguyen Binh Giang, a senior official of the Import & Export Department of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT), noted that in many cases, Russia’s standards were even higher than that of European countries.
“The requirements on food hygiene and product quarantine set by Russia on Vietnamese farm produce are very strict,” Giang said.
Vietnam has no beef with Russia, but Russia is being tight with Vietnam.  Is Russia allowing prices ot rise inside Russia in order to see domestic production called forth by the price signal?  Will BigFarm find that its heavily subsidized exports to Russia never returns, when Russians find domestic is superior?  Expect in a decade to see Russia's domestic production start to become exported as the domestic production improves.

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