Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sonoma County Cyclists Get Special Rights

I am still trying to wrap my head around why bicyclists should get special rights over non-cyclists... For a little background go check out this article:

But how can the crazy Oakmonter who tried to run down a cyclists be a prime example. It states clearly that the driver is being charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and hit and run.

I wouldn't exactly call that getting away with harassing and harming a cyclist.

How many more charges are needed?

It is probably likely that the cyclist in this case has a lawyer and will sue the crazy driver.

Don't we already have laws protecting you from being harmed or harassed by another person?

I am not anti-bicycle at all.

I am against any group of people being "granted" more rights by the government than another group.

Automobile drivers crash into one another all the time. Sometimes fatally. Should a law be passed to give the person crashed into more litigious rights? What if they had been on a motorcycle, does that warrant a larger sum of money?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Responsibility For Suckers

I feel like such a clown.

A sucker.

What was I thinking?

First a bit of background, go and check out this article:

Not getting caught up into the hype, hysteria and outright irresponsibility of the housing market explosion was dumb.

One also has to wonder, what happens with the people whom went out and bought a house "no money down" and lost it. Do they get a place in line for a check?

And what about the people who smartly avoided the whole thing, rented a place, and waited for the eventual correction to buy at a realistic price.

Go pound sand.

Naturally on the surface this looks good to people in distress. They get a reprieve from those evil banks and the mortage for a house they could never afford in the first place.

But very little of this money will actually go to help anyone.

A third will go to waste, because it's the government. Another third will go to line political friendly pockets under the guise of "fighting blight" and other nonsense.

The final third will go towards funding the actual program.

This payoff is a farce anyway since it is being paid with your taxpayer money from the bailout.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

This Should Scare The Hell Out Of You

You won't see this talked about on the evening news:

Now I don't care for the IMF, essentially they are a bunch of European statists that control the banking system and thus exert influence over governments and economies.

But these guys aren't dummies either, and when they show concern you may want to take notice.

There are some extremely salient points in the report they recently released on the downfall of the US economy:

Section 4 details out the current and projected financing of the federal debt. In essence the dollar has been treated favorably in the current crisis and people and financial institutions have been buying up treasuries.

However it goes on to state that it is uncertain who will continue to buy up US debt because we are no longer credit worthy.

"The combination of high fiscal deficits, an aging population and rapid growth in government provided health care benefits have put the fiscal accounts on an unsustainable path." Page 52

"The main drivers of the fiscal gap are rising health care costs that under current law will boost mandatory spending to above 18 percent of GDP by 2050." Page 54

If you read the rest of the last paragraph it goes on to state that essentially at the present size of our total economy (GDP) and tax rate, health care entitlement programs are going to account for all of the governments revenue.

So there wont be anything leftover, after paying for entitlements, for the government to actually operate with. And they predict this can occur as soon as 2026.

The table on page 59 is rather chilling. It states that to close the budget gap by 2015 if nothing else is done (ie drastic cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid) all taxes need to be raised by 34%!!!

Can you afford a 34% federal tax increase across the board?

This is a runaway train folks. It's clear we are headed towards collapse. If you ran your personal finances like this you would be in bankruptcy court so fast it would make your head spin.

Unfortunately the exponentially growing government spending will not be curtailed and will be funded by the federal reserve resulting in runaway inflation.

It's time to hold your elected congress, senator and the president accountable. They vote to raise the national debt. They voted in TARP bank bailouts and the scamulus packages.

They voted in ObamaCare in a rush and panic without even reading the bill to understand it or the adverse ramifications that are now coming to light.

They voted in the Frank/Dodd financial un-reform which is a total farce.

This is not an issue of Republican or Democrat. Most incumbents from both parties are to blame. This is a matter of survival.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lynn Woolsey - You Sly Dog

If you live in Sonoma or Marin county I am sure you recently received a nice little "constituent update" from Lynn Woolsey.

How convenient this close to an election she gets to blanket everyone house and home in her entire district with a propaganda mailing proclaiming just how much money she has been responsible for bringing into the area.

One of the items on the list was development money for SMART. Um, no ma-am but the bulk of SMARTs funding is paid for by the sales tax increase thanks to Marin and Sonoma counties measure Q passage back in 2008. Of course SMART is turning into a major boondoggle leaving taxpayers on the hook, but that is another topic altogether.

Naturally it doesn't tell you where any of the money came from or what the true cost, in terms of increased taxes and inflation, to procure this money is.

So there are two thoughts on what this update is about: Lynn cares a lot about the folks in Sonoma and Marin counties to let them know what is going on and how hard she is working for us or she actually feels threatened by Jim Judd in the upcoming election.

Now obviously since Lynn recently voted herself a pay raise (that was thankfully struck down by people who don't have there heads in the clouds) in spite of all the economic calamity going on, she doesn't really care about her constituents.

Now campaigning is one thing. Who wouldn't understand that, but since when do you get to do it with taxpayer funds?

Time for some quick back of the envelope math.

A saturation mailing list for Marin and Sonoma counties comes out with 315,505 addresses. The last time I checked the saturation postal rate was 23 cents for a letter. That comes out to $72,566 just for postage for the update you just received, not including the cost of printing the flyer.

To add further insult there must be a dozen ways she could have disseminated that information to the public that would have cost a fraction of the amount or could have been free.

Perhaps the folks who actually care to hear you profer would read a blog or attend a town hall meeting?

The real rub is that this is paid with our tax dollars. So even if you don't support Woolsey you just involuntarily paid for her congressional campaign.

Lynn Woolsey, you are a sly dog.

Monday, August 2, 2010

SCERAs Dirty Laundry

You read it here first: I guessed that Sonoma Counties employee pension fund would float a bond to paper over it's deficient funding obligations, and now it looks like that prediction is coming to fruition according to the recent PD article.

So these guys want to issue a 20 year bond at 6% so they can invest it into the pension hoping for a historical 8% return? For 20 years? Hreh

What happens if the fund underperforms for a year, or two?

Doing a little back of the envelope math for a 300 million bond at 6% would be payments of 15.9M a year. Considering the recent 61.1M deficit with Sonoma Counties budget 16 Million could be a significant addition.

And let's not forget this would be in addition to the 210 million dollar bond that was floated back in 2003 we are already paying for.

I cannot imagine anything more stupid and foolish. This is not investing, it's gambling.

Further clouding the issue at hand are the accounting gimmicks. Although they may be legal, it's borderline subterfuge.

Ordinarily I wouldn't care except that in this case Jon Q. Taxpayer is going to be on the hook if this thing goes south. And the frustrating part is that the board of supervisors who will decide on this today will not be around tommorow to be held accountable when the bond matures so they have virtually nothing to lose.

And with many of the current board members twittering FDR quotes and hatching ideas for more government created service jobs I hold out little hope.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Real Meaning of Prosperity

Check out this article:

The more Chuck writes the more I like what he says.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Sonoma County BOS Are Tools

It's funny to see. Watch the members of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors twitter stream. They constantly rail on Sacramento politicians and Governator Arnolds budgetary practices.

These are the same folks who can't even balance there own budget. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

Faced with a pretty large deficit the board of supes simply played an elaborate shell game of robbing Peter to pay Paul. Except Peter is broke.

If the Press Demo has it right and the county is going to come up short 400 million on future employee pensions, look out. That is going to be a weight hung around every Sonoma county residents neck for years to come.

Why is that? Because large amounts of money like that will most likely be funded by bonds. And by definition municipal bonds are collateralized by the issuers ability to collect taxes. Plus bonds typically mature in 20 or 30 years. There is no end in sight.

There is also a wild card in the pension deal. I wonder how many of the mortgage backed securities CalPERS and SCERA (Sonoma Counties version of CalPERS) bought into. Those "safe & secure" securities backed by mortgages that are going into default all over the place.

SCERA had $210 million of bonds floated back in May of 2003 due to the economic conditions. And that was a relatively minor bubble compared to the current one.

What happens when CalPERS & SCERA need a bailout?

The board of supervisors decision to paper things over doesn't even fix the long term issue of public pensions. For profit private industry by and large stopped pensions a long time ago because they just aren't sustainable and they couldn't afford them. Governments aren't any different.

Instead of dealing with the 700 pound gorilla in the room the board dickers over parking fees at Howarth park.

As the church lady said: How ConVEENient!

All I can say is pray for an about face and economic turnaround very soon to close the budget ravine. Because this crew of clowns has made it clear they are incapable of making tough choices.