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  • Whole Foods' Stock Is As Pricey As Their Produce [View article]
    Thankfully, I've never been in a Whole Foods Mkt; though, I hear from multiple sources that they are much loved by patrons. Surely, the fun of shopping there would bias me even more to the Stock. That elusive Alpha will not be maintained by ignoring Beta. When the Market energetically turns down within the next couple of weeks, the profitable stocks will be hurriedly dropped by professional investors to preserve profits. Downside ignition will transform paper profits into depressing losses for all who are too-comfortably basking in the current superheat! It's been a great ride up - Beware!
    Sep 21, 2012. 09:26 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sleepwalking at the Stock Exchange [View article]
    Good article: "the Fed may be accidentally penalizing prudent savers ". . . Well, let's look at the old saw: "In 1913 an ounce of gold bought a VERY nice suit or $22, whichever you preferred. Now the ounce of gold still buys the very nice suit or over $1,200." Zero interest rates are no accident. Devalued dollars are NO accident, but one of the cleverest and wicked means of wealth confiscation. In the sixties, watching the Jettsons, I remember people talking about all the free-time we would have on our hands from technology and production improvements. Now there are 2 or more bread-winners per family and ends still are tough to meet. What happened to all the surplus savings in time and dollars? Sapped away by inflation as the government purchased more and more with debt. My parents live on fixed income and they're hurting with rates held artificially low by the Fed in the "name of compassion". We need government by good results, not government by good intentions. Since that's not possible, how about slashing the size of government everywhere by 2/3's, slashing regulations by 2/3's, slashing taxes by 2/3's, letting the debts crash (as they're going to do anyway in one form or another), eliminating the minimum wage, so people can find work at some price and gutting through this thing honestly?
    Sep 11, 2010. 05:34 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • More Stimulus and More Unsustainable Debt [View article]
    That same argument was used to keep slavery in place.
    Sep 9, 2010. 05:07 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • More Stimulus and More Unsustainable Debt [View article]
    "Perceived to be free??" Well now there's an easy way to fix that perception. Move it back to private ownership and people will pay for what they really want and can afford.
    Sep 8, 2010. 04:05 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • A Bull Market by Any Other Name [View article]
    True, but how does one know that it's currently as dark as it's going to get?
    Jun 22, 2010. 11:11 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Peak Oil Investments I'm Putting My Money On: Part X, Improving Vehicle Efficiency [View article]
    Hi SailRick: Thanks for taking the time to include your comments!

    Your comments indicate, if I've correctly read them, that you believe I'm "emphasizing rights of the individual to the exclusion of the culture", but that cannot be true, because "cultures" cannot have rights. A culture is in-essence a set of common beliefs and a common belief cannot have rights. Your next statement: "Civilizations, nations, tribes societies are formed for mutual benefit" is terrific and I am 100% in agreement with you that individuals can obtain huge, leveraged benefits from bonding together in society in common causes of mutual benefit. My cellphone wouldn't exist or work without civilization and therein is the entire value of the concept of RIGHTS; after all, rights wouldn't need to exist as a concept if a person lived in a world all by themselves, for no-one else could potentially interfere with their values and their acts to achieve those values. Rights are necessary only when two or more people interact, i.e. as you have implied, in order to maintain "civil" societies of benefit to individuals.

    Your first conclusion that "What you(i.e. UbaTuba) advocate is only for your benefit" cannot be correct, because what I wrote (and believe) is that the definition of individual rights must include the fact that my rights must stop at every other individual's nose. By that definition, rights are not just for my sole benefit, but for the sole benefit of the world's smallest special interest - every individual.

    No-one has "a right" to anyone else's life or property. That includes the air one breathes, the water one drinks, the soil one lives on, the food they eat or sell, etc. A clear definition of individual rights places you and me hand-in-hand with the idea that no-one has a right to pollute or damage the property of others without the owner's permission. How is it that this definition "excludes" the rights of other individuals for the sake of only one? It doesn't!

    It is not possible for "my rights" to usurp "your rights" for we each have equal rights to our own lives and property. One may trespass upon the rights of another, but the judicial system (a legitimate governmental system of force), trial by jury, etc. exists to civilly affirm whether rights have been violated and whether restitution be required.

    I'm not against large accumulations of wealth by a relatively few individuals, but use of that wealth to violate the rights of any individual by fraud or force is grounds for restoration of those violations. Herein is again the need for the highly limited purpose of government to keep people honest in their dealings with each other, so that rights are not violated or if violated are repaired.

    As you asked, I have noticed the mixed economy's around the world, but the narrow focus of my original comments revolve around the Primary of individual rights to their own lives, their own concerns, the things they love or not. Every "culture", every group, every other individual's desire to rule how others live via fist-of-force or fraud (force by deception) must stop short at every other individuals nose. In short, my values cannot trump yours (or vice versa) via the initiation of force. That's what rights are. They are necessary, because we don't have enlightened angels to rule over us and tell us who's values are "right". My values, their pursuit, and their consequences are my right in every case save one, when one would proceed to force their values upon another; such as, when a thief holds up a knife and says "Your wallet or your life!".

    A proper definition of rights insures the broadest possible respect and compassion for others, because their sacred values must then be seen for what they are: Every bit as sacrosanct as one's own values. Rights ensure that we deal voluntarily with others or not at all.

    To say the "Culture" or "society" has rights is to pervert the proper definition of rights and destroy individuals for the sake of any group, including groups that desire to confiscate a person's land for their own purpose of conveniently driving over it.
    May 17, 2010. 01:22 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Peak Oil Investments I'm Putting My Money On: Part X, Improving Vehicle Efficiency [View article]
    Hi Mr. Conrad: Thanks for your gentlemen's response and kind patience with my somewhat enthusiastic railing on a single underlying assumption of your article.

    Your article contains great depth of real-world information that should be considered by everyone concerned with energy and efficiency. My honing-in on what I consider to be a common, serious, and unfortunate assumption of the majority of similar articles is in no-way to overlook the excellent points you have revealed.

    My point has nothing to do with whether pay-per-mile is a market-oriented approach, but whether the government ought to even be in the road business. In fact, my assertion is that the government being in the road business is the predominant cause of all manner of follow-on problems including urban sprawl, massive oil dependence, and a standard of living overwhelmingly arranged around the convenient violation of rights of property owners to their own lives and values, i.e. confiscation of land for road-use versus the use-intended by the land owners.

    As far as the idea you posited of it being unfair "for a person to drive 100,000 miles a year, causing significant congestion, pollution, and road wear paying the same to register their car and a granny driving 1,000 miles a year to go to church" I disagree with that idea of unfairness and it's proposed "enhancement", among other reasons for the following:

    - Gasoline and Diesel road-use taxes are already paid on every gallon of fuel purchased. Charging this road-use tax on every gallon of gasoline is already doing exactly what you have proposed in a yet more expensive and intrusive government-mile-monito... approach. If granny drives a 1,000 miles, she already pays for road maintenance with every gallon of gasoline she buys. The 100,000 mile Hummer or tractor-trailer driver also pays with every gallon - heavier vehicle, lead-foot, more fuel = more taxes paid. That's fair enough! (This brings up an interesting point. . . What happens road-tax-wise when you charge your electric vehicle at home??). Toll roads act similarly to fuel purchase taxes, charging only for every mile driven.

    - To say that people driving 100,000 miles a year "cause significant congestion, pollution, and road wear" is an unconvincing conclusion. The word "significant" needs to be qualified: Significant compared to what? You did not show any consideration of the crucial benefits gained from such mileage. Suppose I'm driving a 100,000 miles a year pumping septic tanks? Would the "pollution I'm causing" be far worse than the pollution caused by not pumping the septic tanks?

    Congestion also was not adequately balanced. Congestion may not be caused at all by driving 100,000 miles per year, because I could never get that far in a year if i drove in congested areas; in fact, maybe it's just the opposite - if I put less than say 12,000 miles per year on my vehicle it may be a sign that I live in the city and am always driving in congested areas and thus I should not, by the standard of congestion, have a car or if I do maybe I should be "forced' to pay additional fees by "irresponsibly" using a car in heavily congested zones. Evidently, based on the number of people willing to sit in their car in heavily congested traffic every day, they think congestion is a good thing compared to their current alternatives. Eliminating congestion in and of itself is neither good nor bad unless the benefits are carefully weighed.

    - The benefits of the driving must, in fairness, be considered by being contrasted and compared in order for your conclusion to ring valid in my ears. If a person drives 100,000 miles a year (probably a trucker) and causes congestion, pollution, and road wear, there must be some benefits to those 100,000 miles. Whenever something is built, trash is also created. Just considering the trash does not enable one to reach a proper cost/benefit conclusion.

    Finally, my main point is that the role of government should be strictly limited to protecting the life and property of world's smallest minority (the individual) from theft by others via force or fraud. Public roads are one example of where government stepped out of bounds and impregnated the current bubble in the theft of land, in-efficient land use, bubbles in land pricing via urban sprawl, energy dependence via urban sprawl, and national (ultimately, of course individual) security.

    Thanks again for your kind response to my negative (and I hope potentially constructive) comments to a single important point, among many great points, in your article.
    May 16, 2010. 08:58 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Peak Oil Investments I'm Putting My Money On: Part X, Improving Vehicle Efficiency [View article]
    MarketQuant: Thanks for your response to my comment and your sympathy with limiting the role of government.

    if I have correctly understood it, the gist of your concern in this area has to do with personal safety and assurance that what people are providing is in fact honest (such as the capital adequacy of an insurance company) or safe (such as the acceptable bacterial count of meat that one is considering for consumption). I did not intend to convey any simplistic substitute for the massive and complex number of factors that go into even one day's worth of living for all of us. Standards and Regulations are necessary and useful to us all. The question is WHAT is the proper role of Government as it relates to these important areas you have mentioned and in every area?

    Government is a dangerous tool. In the U.S. we have "Social Security". Have you checked the status of the capital adequacy of the U.S. Social Security System? Have you checked the capital adequacy of Medicaid and Medicare? Have you noticed that an ounce of gold in 1913 was around thirty U.S. dollars, but today it's nearly $1,200 U.S. dollars; yet, the composition of an ounce of gold hasn't changed? Government has reduced the purchasing power of citizens via inflation. Is this massive decrease in the purchasing power a proper role of government?

    Can you change governments as quickly as you can change insurance companies if you don't believe the "capital positions" of either are properly stated? Can you stop buying insurance from a dishonest insurance company? Most likely, Yes! Can you stop buying "Social Security" or supporting welfare programs of a dishonest government? Most emphatically, NO! The point is that since government is an instrument of irrestible force run by the same flawed human beings that run companies, it's role should be strictly limited to keeping relations between human beings voluntary and honest.

    That's a challenging enough assignment. Once this role is expanded, then elections become theft of a minority as their values are pillaged via the whims of the majority. A government large enough to give us everything we want is able to take from us everything we have.

    I believe that government has a crucial, limited role as a referee to "keep us honest" when we deal with each other. We must deal with each other voluntarily and we must do it without fraud. It's that simple. Government is corrupted when it expands this role and begins adding to one citizens values by robbing another citizen of their values. None of the concerns with safety or standards that you mentioned have to be handled by government, but the government has a legitimate, limited role in forcing people to deal honestly and voluntarily with each other.

    There are plenty of instances of private enterprise successfully handling (and competing to best handle) these matters. Consider the American National Standards Institute - a consortium of manufacturers that have agreed upon standard sizes for nuts and bolts. Fire ratings for doors in nearly every building in the United States are not government ratings, but private company ratings, which those companies zealously guard.

    The ultimate point I was trying to get at was that today it's considered normal to assume that the government should be involved in virtually every aspect of our lives, but history has shown that approach is not long-term safe. Government is no panacea. It is a Pandora-like tool and ought to be handled like gasoline in a sparky room.
    May 16, 2010. 07:53 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Peak Oil Investments I'm Putting My Money On: Part X, Improving Vehicle Efficiency [View article]
    Hi Rich - Thanks for taking the time to add your important comments. Regarding those you said: "In your world apparently, you would share the road with anyone who wanted to get into any kind of vehicle and drive on either side of the road at any speed. . . ". My comments, while enthusiastic, did not support anarchy; rather, the necessity that government, because it relies on force instead of persuasion, must be limited in scope lest it become the very vehicle of theft of values that it exists to prevent. Human interaction requires in all endeavors, "Rules of the Road". The question ought to be asked, "WHAT" is the proper role of government and I feel that this article, while having much that's worthy of thought and discussion, just assumes that government ought involved in these areas of life. Clearly, I don't believe it should. I am not in the Social Darwinists camp nor does libertarian thinking lead to Eugenics. The Nazi government was a clear example of a government out of bounds. What right does anyone or any government have to force others to mate or kill to create their idea of a master race? By Nature, we are all equally human beings. If there were angels higher than mankind to govern us, it would be different, but as it is, we are all equally sovereign, each to their own life.

    You have correctly described my assertion that being compelled to "help the poor" does ultimately create more poverty and a worse society. It creates more poverty than would otherwise exist for several reasons; among them, It requires robbery of one citizen(a producer) for the supposed benefit of another (a consumer) and as such, It demotivates the poor to do better while simultaneously demotivating the producers to do even better .

    The government has a crucial role: To protect the world's smallest minority (the individual) against the force of every other individual or group. "My world" is generally not the one that you have ascribed to me. In My World, all rights to do what I want MUST stop at the other person's nose. We must respect the sacred sovereignty of every other individual. If we're driving on their road, then we must obey the rules of their road. It's that simple.
    May 16, 2010. 07:10 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Peak Oil Investments I'm Putting My Money On: Part X, Improving Vehicle Efficiency [View article]
    "A change to per-mile charges would increase fairness because people who drive more cause more accidents, road wear, and congestion, and the poor tend to drive less than the rich, so per-mile charges would also make driving more affordable for them. "

    Oh Dear. . . What business is it of any government, whether people ride bicycles or drive Hummers. Who in their right mind could "fairly" declare what people must generally drive or subsidize? There are no angels to rule among us. We are all equally human; therefore, it's up to each individual to decide what to drive, based on their own context of affordability, driving ability, vehicle effectiveness for the task at hand, safety tradeoffs, liability concerns to 3rd parties, etc. Regulators never tire of regulating the lives of others. They evidently love telling others how they should live. . . Busybodies.

    The root of this entire issue starts when people in a position of using force (governments) violate other people's property rights by using broadened eminent-domain laws to force public roads across the property of landowners who don't want the roads within the constraints offered. Now in the U.S. we have urban sprawl, a nation addicted to miles traveled, broken bridges of moral continuity between generations who used to grow up together, and valuable farmland needlessly converted to consumption-based subdivisions, because the cost of commuting daily to that remote area has been artificially reduced by subsidization of roads.

    Now the regulator wants to intefere with even more of our rights to our own lives, property, and choices by adding additional regulation. Yes. . . regulators feel they have the answer to the problems caused by yester-years regulators. But today's regulators values are not in any way superior to those of any other individual. The answer is not more regulation and more taxes and more government. The answer is to decidedly limit the power of the regulators. In such a system, all human interactions on a practical basis would be conducted by persuasion or not at all instead of as this author apparently assumes: by force, because he assumes also that his moral values should be everyone's moral values when it comes to driving. It's poison clothed as a sedative.

    Considering the author's conclusions above regarding "fairness, because people who drive more cause more accidents, road wear . . . " what about the other side of this coin? If the author is being "fair" in their argument he should posit whether people who are poor SHOULD be driving more than the wealthy.

    Making driving "more affordable" for the poor, is a value that the author has, but which I do not share. It's the same with the tired old argument, where a regulation specialist makes a moral assertion (which I believe is immoral); such as, "per mile charges would make driving more affordable for the poor" as though we should all feel good about such a dastardly regulation. Among other important considerations, the author has evidently not considered whether poor people have more wrecks per mile driven than wealthier people. People who drive more may also be more productive and useful by hauling fish from the ocean shore to the middle of Washington D.C.? Should they be charged more per-mile because they are more productive? Maybe the poor shouldn't have a vehicle at all? Maybe they should forfeit it for the more productive among us? By the author's own reasoning I assert that taking away vehicles from "the poor" would be even "healthier for society". Fortunately, I don't suscribe to the initiation of force as a legitimate means of interaction among us humans, so taking vehicles from the poor is just as wrong as requiring people to use only "efficient" vehicles.

    By the way, WHO are the poor? These nubulous arrogatory, myopic arguments that prey on the poorness of the poor are shameful; among other sound reasons, because they tend to keep the "poor" comfortable in their "poorness". If as a nation, we keep emphasizing compassion for "being poor" we'll continue obtaining more of what is emphasized, i.e. more poverty. It should be decidedly uncomfortable to be poor for then the poor would be more motivated to escape their poverty by education and hard work to escape the pangs of poverty. I was so motivated and remain so to this day! It works!

    What the author conveniently assumes as moral, I emphatically assert as being immoral. This is the problem with wrongly broadening the government's role beyond basic protection of one's right to their own life and the freedom to pursue one's own happiness(which when you think about it is the only possible kind of happiness). The author seems to indicate that he is willing to pursue his own happiness as long as "we" have to pay for it. That's the essence of a government approach gone wild. The only legitimate purpose of government is to keep people from taking other peoples stuff. When regulators talk about things like "making driving or housing or health care or insurance or food" more affordable for the poor, then government has stepped outside of it's proper limited boundary of protection into the sphere of robbery of some citizens for the supposed benefit of others. What right could anybody possibly have to deficit one citizen for the benefit of another. No wonder Lady Justice is hiding her eyes.
    May 15, 2010. 08:01 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Weighing the Week Ahead: Pending Healthcare Legislation and Market Reaction [View article]
    How about just simplify it back to Nature:
    1) No-one is "guaranteed" any kind of health care.
    2) No-one is forced to pay for the health care or any other service or good for anyone else.
    3) No-one is forced to insure anyone for any pre-existing condition.
    4) The role of government is properly returned to it's highly limited and only legitimate moral purpose - To insure the rights to individual life, property, and pursuit of their own happiness, i.e. that all transactions between people must be by voluntary agreement and not force. In short, Government should only exist to prevent the theft of your life and property by others inside or outside of the country.
    Charity would then be real instead of having a "benevolent" government smiling while giving away your goods.
    People who can work will be more highly motivated to work.
    You will feel empowered by freedom and controlled by responsibility (since no-one will likely bail you out from irresponsible behavior).
    Life will again be exciting in this nation, based upon Nature instead of a Utopian illusion.
    Mar 15, 2010. 06:32 AM | 20 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Lethargic Trading, Unveiled Hints From the Fed and Marking to Mister Market [View article]
    Moon Kil Woong - Very much appreciate and follow your comments at SeekingAlpha; however, in this excellent article, my impression is that The Inflation Trader is properly assuming that risk taking is not proper risk taking unless the risk taker must fairly receive the rewards for their risk by actually failing or succeeding. If the rich (or poor for that matter) are legally prevented from forcing others (i.e. you and I) to pay for their risk failure, then capitalism is properly defined. In a proper government, each individual must assume direct responsibility for their failure. Governments that fail to legally bind the success/failure of the risk taker TO the risk taker are Unjust > Immoral > Illegitimate.
    Feb 11, 2010. 07:28 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Famous Last Words: U.S. Will 'Never' Lose AAA Debt Rating [View article]
    If it were "mandated in the Constitution" they would ignore it. The Constitution is reality-based (i.e. based on the Laws of Nature and the last time I looked, gravity can never be ignored without peril). Since these folks don't march to Nature, as Marc Faber says, "We're doomed!". Ya know to neva mess wit Mother Nature! ". Why is it that the simplest mind, using such poor English may express brilliant wisdom far brighter than the smoke & mirrors of Geithner, Bernanke, Summers, and other Keynesians who do not include the problem of exponential debt in their equation of bliss?
    Feb 9, 2010. 09:18 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Google's Act of War on China [View article]
    An Act of War is the initiation of force against another. China initiated force against individuals who happened to be in Google's area of responsibility. I admire Google for protecting the sacred right of each individual to their own life and freedom.
    Jan 16, 2010. 04:36 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Estimating the Size of U.S. Debt Deflation [View article]
    Thanks for your comments John! What is the best (practical) personal protection approach(s) for Liquidation?
    Jan 12, 2010. 06:40 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment