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Rope a Dope

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  • Microsoft preps Windows 10 launch [View news story]
    It looks like it has more bugs than a $5 a night hotel room.

    I've been waiting for the 10 launch and did not receive the notification on my taskbar as I thought I would so I decided to go into the MS website and dig around. It looks like there are a few thousand questions already for a product that just launched 16 hours ago. I can sum up most of the replies as 'we'll get back to you'.

    I was going to install it on my tablet first to see if it worked well enough before installing on my Win 7 desktop that I use for trading, but I'm not installing it anytime soon; too many bugs. Looks like I’ll be waiting a few more months.
    Jul 29, 2015. 04:35 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Coal pension plan sues Peabody, Arch Coal to assume $800M in liabilities [View news story]
    I blame Obama and his War on Coal for the collapse of the coal industry.
    Jul 22, 2015. 02:56 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Petrobras selling Argentine unit stake, provincial governor says [View news story]
    Francisco, I agree that PBR needs to sell off some of the assets but there is also strength in keeping it fairly large. I’m guessing you live in Brazil or were at least born there. Brazil is my favorite country, even over the US.

    I haven’t looked for a few months to see what percentage the Brazilian government owns but about a year ago I think it was around ~ 55%. I thought I read something where they may have reduced their stake to under 50% though. I think the government involvement in PBR contributes to the corruption and that won’t change until they divest of all PBR holdings entirely.

    The Brazilian government tells PBR what projects they will be required to bid on and how much they will pay for the ‘privilege’ of doing so. I remember reading of a few projects where PBR management was not really interested at all or wanted their portion of the project reduced (LIBRA was one), but they have no choice; they do what the government tells them to do.

    I think PBR has enormous potential but I would never buy the stock until the government divests itself all of all PBR stock and eliminates price controls. Until both happen, it’s too hard to figure out the earnings potential and there is less risk in other energy stocks.
    Jul 19, 2015. 04:29 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • California pump prices to stay high as Exxon refinery woes drag on [View news story]
    Jacob, that only applies in the other 56 states.
    Jul 19, 2015. 04:17 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is a Ukraine default next? [View news story]
    Slava, Finland does not have current issues with Russia, but read some WWII history and there was nothing but extreme hatred between the 2. I have no idea how much that has changed but I'm sure Fins have not forgotten.
    Jul 19, 2015. 04:12 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is a Ukraine default next? [View news story]
    Debutant, I don't think Putin is done with his land grab. I would not put it past him to try to retake some of the satellites with the same claim he did with Crimea; there are Russians living there.

    Russians are all over the former satellite states, a consequence of the former USSR. Putin needs to learn to live with it, but I don't think he is done.
    Jul 19, 2015. 04:07 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is a Ukraine default next? [View news story]
    "One of the wisest act of man is to be at peace with your neighbor"

    I agree, but I don't think Putin does. Put in knows he can do pretty much anything he wants until January 20th, 2017.

    I grew up during the time when anyone crossing a USSR border was shot in the back. Once the USSR fell, people stopped getting shot in the back when they crossed a border, and peace and prosperity followed and not just for Russia and the satellites; the entire planet benefited from their fall.

    Putin needs to pay dearly for his aggressions and the best way to do that is to choke Russians. All Putin has done is prove he is not a trusted partner in any way.
    Jul 19, 2015. 04:03 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Is a Ukraine default next? [View news story]
    Europe doesn't want Putin as their next door neighbor.
    Jul 19, 2015. 02:59 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Is a Ukraine default next? [View news story]
    Ukraine is a buffer between Europe and Russia; I have little doubt they will get bailed out.
    Jul 19, 2015. 02:37 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Is a Ukraine default next? [View news story]
    Boris Nemtsov was attempting to provide ‘input’ until he was shot dead.

    Galina Starovoitova was attempting to provide ‘input’ until she was shot dead.

    Sergei Yushenkov was attempting to provide ‘input’ until he was shot dead.

    Yuri Shchekochikhin was attempting to provide ‘input’ until he was mysteriously (well, not really) killed by a dose of thallium.

    Nikolai Girenko was attempting to provide ‘input’ until he was shot dead.

    Paul Klebnikov was attempting to provide ‘input’ until he was shot dead.

    Andrei Kozlov was attempting to provide ‘input’ until he was shot dead.

    Anna Politkovskaya was attempting to provide ‘input’ until she was shot dead.

    Alexander Litvinenko was attempting to provide ‘input’ until he was mysteriously (well, not really) killed by a dose of polonium.

    Daniel McGrory, a journalist out of London, was attempting to report on the death of Litvinenko when he mysteriously died 5 days after Litvinenko was killed. 5 days after Mcgrory died, another journalist that was working on the same story was shot, but survived.

    Stanslav Markelov was attempting to provide ‘input’ until he was shot dead.
    Natalia Estemirova was attempting to provide ‘input’ until she was kidnapped and shot dead.

    There are a lot of journalists in Russia that have attempted to provide ‘input’ by the way of reporting on Putin and his jackboots, but 200 of them have been killed over the last 25 years.

    Wake up and smell the Dictatorship.
    Jul 19, 2015. 12:53 PM | 16 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • California pump prices to stay high as Exxon refinery woes drag on [View news story]
    What happens when the government runs out of other people's money to subsidize sales?
    Jul 18, 2015. 10:49 AM | 27 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Petrobras selling Argentine unit stake, provincial governor says [View news story]
    I've seen more 'business decisions' made by PBR in the last few months than I have seen in the last several years combined. It almost looks like they're going to start running it like a money making enterprise rather than the National Piggy Bank of Brazil.

    I have long believed PBR must have one of the best management teams on the planet; when you can keep your head above water while dragging an anchor the size of the Brazilian government along, you're really doing something.
    Jul 17, 2015. 08:24 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Greece A Template For U.S. State And Local Government Debt Crises? (Video) [View article]
    benni, I’m not sure where you are getting your numbers, but the true debt of the US makes it THE most debt laden country on the planet. I’ll guess you are going by the National Debt number the government throws out to the public. If our true debt were only $18 trillion, that is a manageable number and would not be a threat to the survival of the US. But the unfunded liabilities of Social Security, Medicare, and Federal pensions alone amount to roughly $80 trillion USD. Most of that amount has already been ‘promised’ to people like me who have been paying SS tax for over 30 years. The reality of the SS fund is that there are only enough funds in the account to pay out the next 2 ½ years in benefits. SS is the biggest Ponzi scheme ever run and relies on current and future workers to fund the checks of those who are already retired. All Ponzi schemes that have ever been run have eventually failed and SS will be no different.

    There are hundreds of other Federal, State, and local governments that are in the same financial straits and collectively have more than $140 trillion in unfunded liabilities. Those programs are relying on future revenue streams to remain solvent but most already know they are severely underfunded.

    If you read through that CBO report I linked, you can see the CBO realizes future revenue may be impacted due to tax hikes. With 70% of the US economy driven by consumer spending, you can’t remove significant portions of that through increased taxes and expect the revenue stream to increase. There is an economic principle called the Laffer Curve and in my opinion, we are currently beyond the maximum revenue yields. Increases in tax rates will result in lower revenue and make the problem worse.

    In my case and also in my opinion, I would have no problem paying higher taxes to save the US from economic collapse, but I would also demand tax increases be matched dollar for dollar with cuts in government programs. I have no doubt they could cut $1 trillion in government expenses tomorrow and no one would notice. One example; there was an article I read a few days ago where the government spent $3.5 million to try to figure out why lesbians are overweight. You could find thousands of programs like that one that are a 100% waste of taxpayer dollars. I will not agree to a tax increase unless they cut garbage like that out.

    You are 100% correct on the Cyprus style haircuts and wealth confiscation though; even Ben Bernanke would not rule that out when asked about it after Cyprus took depositors money. One big difference between Cyprus and the US is the number of Americans that own guns. If the government attempts this (they may have to) they will be met with an armed revolt.
    Jul 14, 2015. 09:21 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Oil prices are headed higher, two top investors say [View news story]
    LA, valid points but I would also add that a good portion of the current costs associated with solar, wind, etc. are subsidized and those subsidies are beginning to disappear and I believe that trend will continue. I would also expect the lack of subsidies to increase costs, but I would also expect advancements in technology to offset those costs to some degree.
    Jul 13, 2015. 07:01 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Greece A Template For U.S. State And Local Government Debt Crises? (Video) [View article]
    State and local government ARE the same as Greece and I’m shocked you would suggest otherwise. The poster child and blueprint for how to run a city into the ground is Detroit. They filed for bankruptcy protection after amassing $18 billion in debt they could not pay.

    Outside of Detroit, we had Jefferson County, Alabama / Orange County, California / Stockton, California / San Bernardino, California and a host of others that have filed for bankruptcy protection. There were a few cities that filed for bankruptcy but were not approved. The state of California has over $400 billion in unfunded liabilities and a declining tax base. People and businesses are fleeing in droves.

    Not far behind them are Illinois and Pennsylvania, both struggling with unfunded pension plans that are on track to consume 100% of their state budgets. Both have taken steps to address this issue but both states will continue to struggle. If they hit the point where pensions consume 100% of the state budgets, you can forget about funding for schools, roads, or anything else needed by the citizens.

    There are quite a few state and local governments struggling under the weight of unfunded liabilities and all have one common theme; in all cases their debt can be attributed to Democrats promising voters that if elected, they will reward them financially by saddling taxpayers with debt. In other words, they used other people’s money to buy votes. As has happened in Greece, they’re almost out of other people’s money to spend.

    To address your comment that “the wacko conservatives have been calling for THE END OF THE WORLD for 8 years and...and...nada, zip”

    Here’s an excerpt from the CBO, hardly a ‘whacko conservative’ group – “Incorporating the negative economic effects of higher debt pushes the projected debt up to 107 percent of GDP in 2040 (see Chapter 6). Moreover, the debt would be on an upward trajectory, which ultimately would be unsustainable” http://1.usa.gov/1Lb22oL That comment can be found on page 15

    That ‘unsustainable’ comment has been part of the CBO forecasts for at least the last few years, but you probably consider them a bunch of radicals along with the Nobel Laureates that have endorsed the Inform Act which is designed to address Americas growing and unsustainable debt. I can also assume you do not understand the definition of the word ‘unsustainable’. But there is one MAJOR difference between what these economists are forecasting and what you believe; their arguments are supported with mathematical facts, while you only have an unsubstantiated opinion. That CBO document contains some pretty alarming facts about where the US is headed but you are free to hold onto your unsubstantiated opinion. If you have facts that support your theory that our debt trajectory is sustainable and that the CBO and these Nobel Laureate economists are wrong, I’d love to see your facts.
    Jul 13, 2015. 06:47 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
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