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Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Fiscal Cliff Is Not The Problem, The Debt Tsunami Is.

      We made it past the Mayan Crisis, which turned out to be more of a Y2K event than the end of the world.  The next Crisis is the Fiscal Cliff which is looking more and more like a reality.  Actually the thing to watch is the Coming Financial Tsunami.  Certain idiots are saying, it will not be that bad but they are not looking at all the facts. History is full of facts that say they are wrong.  One sign is what the richest people in the world are doing to prepare for it.  They certainly are not waiting till the last minute. You might check this link.   It makes clear that those who understand finances sense an upcoming economic problem.  Warren Buffet, John Paulson and George Soros have been dumping stocks that are dependent on consumer spending.  Why would they do that unless they sensed something interrupting the cash flow in the economy.

     The current situation with the Fiscal Cliff says the taxes are going up on some people regardless of what the Congress does or does not do.  Well in 1936, almost seven years into the Great Depression, the Roosevelt administration seeing a slight recovery tried to raise taxes to reduce government debt.  They had to reverse themselves quickly as the economy slid back to its historic lows and stayed there till the start of World War II. That is proof that raising taxes brings things to a halt.  Big business and the rich immediately tighten their belts if they sense a problem.  The sad part, and something not realized by most economic analysts is that most downturns start from the bottom up.  It is sort of like the warning sign before the Tsunami.  The water suddenly rushes out and people see easy pickings of the fish on the beach, but those who understand as the poor do, know something worse is coming.

      America's debt problem is going to sweep over the top of the Fiscal Cliff and suck out any hope of recovery in the economy.  The poor are already tightening their belts.  That can be proven from the holiday sales records.  Spending was way slower than projected.  If the Congress does not act and over 2 million people lose their unemployment income the housing market will shortly start another downhill slide. Even if only half of those people own homes the lost income will put many over the edge.  Congress and the Obama administration are not doing what needs to be done to save the economy.  They need to create jobs.  Even if they are only temporary infrastructure repair jobs.  They are jobs.  The national infrastructure may be one way to help solve the problem.

     The President and Congress say they know there is a spending problem yet they just approved a pay raise for themselves.  Based on what I have seen, it should be a pay cut for their incompetence.  The media recently showed how and why we have such a big problem in America.  In Florida they are building a center to honor the Space Shuttle program.  It is only going to cost $100,000,000 dollars.  Yes that is right one hundred million dollars to make a garage to house the Atlantis Space Shuttle.  Yes it was a great program, but it is not a wise investment to spend that much money on a museum.  That does not include the money they spent moving the other shuttles to the Smithsonian, New York and California.  Even if those other three are included in the cost it is simply to much money.

    Over the last week the Congressional indecision has caused the stock market to slide and loose 2 per cent of it's value.  How down will it go if we go off the cliff.  Those who say it does not matter are totally ignorant of the cost involved in a real crash.  The people who wrote the book referenced in the link I gave earlier, estimate the stock market could loose 90 per cent of it's value.  That would only put it in line with the Great Depression.   In the Great Depression the market lost 89 per cent of it's value.  So their statements are not unreasonable.  You ask why should anybody listen to them.  Well they were about the only ones to predict the housing bubble busting and the market collapse.  That tends to show they have some credibility in what they say.

     The Fiscal Cliff is only a minor problem.  When we get to the bottom of the cliff the incoming Tsunami of debt will totally wipe out the system as we know it.  To balance the debt and bring things back into line economically we need to cut about 6.5 Trillion dollars from the debt.  That number is staggering when you consider the entire national debt at the start of the Great Depression was less than 4 Billion dollars total.  We should have a clue that we have a problem when the debt is at levels that can not even be entered on the average calculator.  I have a 12 digit calculator and it only gets me to 999 billion.  I would need a calculator that does 14 or 15 digits to actually calculate the numbers our national debt is at.  It is easy to see that these numbers are not sustainable.  Putting America's Financial House in order will be a very painful process and there is no way around it.  It will have to happen sooner or later.   The longer it is put off the more intense the pain is going to be.  The sad part is that it is is going to hurt people all over the world.  Especially ones who believed in the Great America Dream.  America's biggest financial houses raped the world markets.  They  sold over valued housing portfolios based on the worlds faith in American Honesty.  Then they wanted bailed out of the crisis they created.

      Well the sad part of the tale is that when we hit the bottom of the cliff and the whole economy collapses, there will no one to bail out anybody else.  It will make the Great Depression look like a cake walk. It will be every man for himself.  When the Market collapsed back in the twenties the government was solvent and it could bail the system out.  The sad part is this time it will be the government itself that is going under.  If you would like to know what the Great Depression really looked like you might read.pages 211 to 256 of the book The Sweep of American History, Volume 2, by Robert Jones, and Gustav Seligmann. It is available through Amazon and it is in the Google Book Library.  I have done a lot of reading on the Great Depression and it is one of the better reads. The chapters on the Great Depression give lots of things one can see happening in this day and time.  It deals mostly with the facts.  Or if you would like some really interesting reading purchase access to Time Magazines archives.  Time was founded in the early twenties an you can actually read in every issue back to their founding,  Articles from the time of the collapse as it actually happened.  It is a great resource for historical information.  If you do not want to buy it yourself many universities and libraries have access to Time's Archives.

      Only time will tell where things are going.  I personally feel President Obama should have done what he said and left after the first term.  It would have left him a better place in history than where it will probably be four years from now.  His trickle down job program is not going to keep the system going for another four years. Being a history buff, history says we are overdue for a major setback and adjustment.  I would love to be wrong, but history repeats itself and it says I will be right.  Time will tell.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Simple Shelves and Recycled Storage Units How-to

                        Solving Storage Problems 

     Solutions to your storage problems do not have to cost a fortune. Taking the time to make units just for your pole barn situation can be done, both cheaply and effectively. These pictures and details are from my own personal unit. I ran out of wall on my desk unit and solved the problem by simply putting a support under one shelf. You just have to be creative.

    Lots of people have storage problems like myself.  It is easy to spend a ton of money on building and buying storage units this is an ultra cheap way to do it.  It also recycles stuff and keeps it out of the land fills.  You can easily see I am in need of an additional unit myself and as soon as I finish moving out of my old building I will get right on it.

The picture on the right is of my new unit so you can see what it looks like without the bottles..  I rip a single sheet into 5 pieces 9 and 1/2 inches wide and 8 feet long. That gives me two sides and six shelves. Your needs may allow you to make more or less shelves.  The reason I did mine this way is that it can be cut from one sheet of plywood.  My bottom shelf is so high so I can set my five gallon buckets under it.  You will have to figure what works for you.. The reason for my size is that four cuts equal a half inch at 1/8  inch each.

     As you can see my unit consists mostly of old detergent bottles and even some kitty litter bottles.  When you start planning your unit you need to measure your bottles you will be using first. Some of the larger jugs are a very tight fit on my shelves.  What I really like about it is that there are enough colors out there that you can color code things.  Something I have just started doing myself.  You can do it in a way where you dedicate each color to a special item.  Say orange for nails, red for screws, white for fasteners and hardware,  blue for nuts and bolts.  The nice thing about them is that you can write on them with a magic marker and know what you have in each one at a glance.  Cutting them to your needs is the trick.  I like to save the kitty litter ones for nails and stuff I take to job sites.  Some brands of bottles have big holes that I can stick my big fat fist in and pick out what I need.  I leave the top intact on these bottles.   That is another reason I need another shelf  unit as I made the shelve spaces to small for these bottles.  At the end I will post a diagram of how you can cut all the shelf unit pieces from one piece of plywood or OSB.   I prefer to use 5/8  or thicker as some of the bottles will have some weight in them.  You tend to get less sag that way.  One piece of 2 X 4 about 8 foot long and cut in half makes the mounting brackets and shelf supports.   How you build it will depend on the type of wall you are hanging it on.  This unit is hanging in a pole barn structure.
    How you cut the bottle is determined by what you are wanting to put in it.  I do a lot of crafts and some bottles I put lots of little pieces in.  On those bottles I cut low like I did the front of the bottle on the left.  Other bottles I cut the sides higher, like the back of the bottle on the left, if I need more storage.  How you do it is all up to you.

     My preferred way to make the units is with 8 inch sides.  I figure my shelf spacing and then I use a router to cut a 1/4 inch deep groove just big enough to fit the shelf end into. (Remember this when cutting your shelve supports.  There will only be 47 1/2 inches between your sides.) I then screw thru the sides and into the ends of the shelves which helps pull it all together.  Then I mount 1/2 of the 2 X 4 on each side and screw it to the sides.  Finally I screw thru the 2 X 4's into the perlins or the studs.  Depending on the kind of wall you are working with. Depending on the height of the ceiling you can move the unit up from the floor and make extra storage for five gallon buckets or whatever else you might need to store beneath the shelf unit.

       This is not the best drawing, but hopefully it will give enough info to help anyone who wants to make a unit.  If you make the shelves 9 1/2 inches wide and cut all the full length cuts first it will work out so the shelves are all the same size.  You will make 4 cuts which take 1/8 inch of board or 1/2 inch total for all 4 cuts. Then you can cut the 3 boards which are 9 1/2 inches wide into four foot lengths.  You can cut wider shelves that will stick out a couple inches farther than the sides but it does not hurt anything unless your a neat freak.  Something I have never been accused of.  Rip the 2 X 4 in half and you have your mounting brackets.  The spacing of the shelves is up to the builder.  Note in the pictures the piece of 2 X 4 on each side vertically or horizontally under each shelf which helps give the shelves extra strength. IF you want support under all six shelves you will need a 12 foot 2 X 4 instead of an 8 foot if mounting to a stud wall. Figure 5 shows a top view of how it would be mounted to pole barn studs.  Figure's 3 and 6 show how it would be mounted to a standard stud wall.  Hope this helps some one create some  cheap storage.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

2012, What The Mayans Missed

       Well here we are with three days to live and the world is still turning.  My personal feeling is that the Mayan Calendar prediction will turn out to be about like the Y2K predictions.  It is either lot of hot air about nothing, or we are toast. However in the course of my reading up on the issue I have come to the conclusion the Mayans may have been on to something, but they missed a few points.  The fact that they no longer exist says a lot for that point of view.

      The Mayans predicted that their Gods would return from the heavens and deliver them from this world.  That sounds a little like the Biblical account of what will happen in the end time.  The Bible. however, goes into a little more detail and Jesus gave us some guidelines and things to look for.  In both the Book of Matthew and the Book of Luke, Jesus made it clear that in the end of times it would be as it was in the days of Noah.  Well Noah was one of the few saved at the time of the flood and the end of the world as it was in his days.  In Matthew 24:32.  Here is what Jesus said on the matter.

       32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.  34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. 36 But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43 But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man comes.

       Maybe what Jesus did not say is more important than what he did say.  Jesus was noted for speaking in parables. He also made his point several times by what he did not say. When dealing with the issue of a woman caught in sin, he said," Let you who is without sin cast the first stone." he did not have to list their sins for them.  They knew what they had done.  He told stories that the ones who believed in him would understand.  To those who did not believe in him it was just a bunch of rambling.  One key to Jesus's talking was that he expected you to know what the Word of God, The Bible, said.  Most of the Jews he spoke to did know the Bible.  The first thing he said for them to understand was the cycle of nature.  He made clear that when you see nature unfolding you know what is going to happen, because nature is consistent.  Just as the Word of God is to those who believe it.

      He made it clear when you saw these things happening that the end was near.  Which is the same thing the Mayans were saying.  He also made it clear he came to save those who believed in him.  He did not come to save those who were of the world and who did not believe in him.  Verse 35 gives the big clue. "My Words shall not pass away."  His Word is still with us.  Jesus spoke of people eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage."  Which happened right up till the time Noah went into the Ark.  What Jesus did not say was what his Word, The Bible, says.  The verses I have attached give a little clearer view of what Jesus was speaking of, especially if you read the highlighted verses.  Just look at all the violence in the world today. One clue that he did give which is not mentioned in Genesis is pretty clear if you look at the world today.  He said they would be giving in marriage.  Marriage was one of the first institutions created by God.   Today marriage has or is becoming and abomination in this day and age.  It is being twisted against all that the Word of God commanded.  Note that in the Genesis account, His Word mentions the taking of wives, but it is not a normal relationship.

1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, 2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. (Could this be the source of the advanced knowledge of ancient civilizations.) 5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.  
8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. 9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.  10 And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. 
13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth

     So let me conclude as to why the Mayans may have been right.  It has nothing to do with their calendar.  It has to do with their lifestyle.  They believed in human sacrifice and were an exceptionally violent group of people.  Genesis said what happens to that type of people.  God has no use for them and will destroy them.  They no longer exist as a people.  Yes there are living descendants of them, but as a people they no longer exist.  So God is consistent with dealing with violent people.  That may be the biggest warning we can take away from what is known and what is said.

     I could go into a long Biblical dialogue about how and why it is the end time.  That is not the point.  We all need to live like today is our last day and treat our fellow man with respect.  We need to turn our hearts and lives back towards God.  If we are living the life he commanded us it will not matter what happens.  If we are right with God, we will be delivered.  We have his Word on it.  Dying is not the measure of a man.  All men will and must die.  It is how we live our lives that matters.  The rain(death) falls on the just and the unjust.  All will die at some point.  Whether it is individually or collectively at some point we will all die. The Bible says so.  It also says all shall be raised up at some point.  Some to glory, and some to judgement.  Which is your destination?  Only God knows the answer to that question.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Solving the Gun/Shooting Problem in America

      Mention guns and you are going to get either of two replies.  The answer will be determined by the person's personal point of view.   The fact that gun ownership is protected under the Constitution might actually help solve the problem.  Answering a few questions first might help solve the dilemma.  First is why should people have guns?  Second is should there be controls on the right to have certain types of guns?  Third how should gun related crimes be punished?  Finally how do we educate people to be more aware of gun ownership, possession, and use in public.  Answering the questions might provide the solutions to America's problem.  Hopefully I answer those questions, but maybe not in the order presented.

      First America needs to get over its love affair with the gun.  It is simply a tool that used properly can protect our rights as citizens.  Used improperly it becomes a threat to society.  The first thing America needs is an understanding that there is a clear and well defined cost for the misuse or abuse of the privilege of having a gun.  In my opinion there should be a price for using a gun in the commission of a crime.  Even if it is never fired.  Using a gun in the commission of a crime should carry at least a five year minimum sentence.  Just the threat of taking or endangering others lives should require such punishment.  There should be no plea bargains and no deals.  You did it, you pay the price.  The only exception is if you can prove you were using the gun to save your life, or the life of another.  Defending your family,home, property and life should be clearly defined as acceptable uses of force.  Threatening a persons life should be treated accordingly.  If a person actually shoots or wounds someone in the commission of a crime the absolute minimum sentence should be ten years.  There should be no appeals, no time off for good behavior or plea bargains.  If you actually kill a person you should technically be dead yourself.  You should get life in prison with no parole, no time off for good behavior or any other reason. A special prison should be created just for killers. It could be called the box.  You are put in a box, till you come out in a box. You take a life, you give up the rest of yours as simple as that.  The person you killed does not get a second chance, why should you.  The lack of clear and well defined laws is one of the problems with America today.  Here are some examples of the problems in America. Your illegal, but you have rights.  You smoke pot, but it is okay in your state for whatever reason.  Drinking and driving is wrong, but you will probably never go to jail unless you kill someone, or can't afford and attorney.

     Some states are moving toward legalizing pot.  I agree and feel it should really be all drugs.  Not because I want to use drugs.  I am tired of paying for not only catching the drug users, but incarcerating them and treating them when they overdue it.  Legalize it and tax the heck out of it.  Let them pay for their own treatment and pay their own way.  The price would go down so they would not have to rip us law abiding citizens off to get money for their habits. The war on drugs and alcohol (remember prohibition) have proved only one thing.  You can not legislate morality, but you can tax it.  Many people who approve of guns would go along with this. Yet when I say let the gun owners pay the tab for fixing the mess they have made of society with their guns they will scream like stuck pigs.  If a nation of alcoholics(based on the number of TV commercials for alcohol) can approve prohibition. Surely a nation that claims to be Christian should be able to overcome the gun lobbies.  Real Christians would pass legislation to protect society from the crazies.

     The above may sound harsh, but I formed my opinions over 65+ years of life.  I have personally seen young people imprisoned at fourteen for murder and then paroled or let out at 21 because the law said that was the maximum sentence they could get.  Then upon release from prison they managed to kill more innocent people or injure a person in such a manner that the person suffers for the rest of their life from the injuries received.  When I mentioned ten years above for shooting someone.  That should be the absolute minimum.sentence.  If they put a person in a wheelchair for life, a longer sentence is justified.  People who take lives either have no respect for life, or they consider other lives worth less than theirs.  Society should consider every life of value, from conception to the grave.  After all it is the Constitution that says we have  a right to "life", liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Failure to respect other people's lives should carry a very harsh yet clear cost to the person who does so.  Removing the plea bargaining and making clear the cost of ones actions is the best method of providing and orderly society.  The refusal to accept responsibility is half the problem in America today.  A couple people take an immoral romp in the hay. Then when the consequences of their actions start to manifest themselves they believe society should take care of the problem they created.  Don't get me wrong. I love children, but people who have them need to do take care of them.  It should not be a responsibility or burden on society.

     The second thing that should happen is that America should have a mandatory education system on the rights and costs of gun ownership.  Children should be educated on the Constitution and it's importance to the society we live in.  Children should also be taught at a young age the ethics and value of all life.  The lives of others as well as their own.  Children should be taught in school how to handle weapons and how to shoot them.  Yes this would cost a lot of money to do, but I have an answer and a way to pay for it. Finishing the classes will determine if a person has a "right" to own a gun later in their life.  People who are in America visiting or are illegally here should have no rights to have, own, or possess a gun for any reason.

    This final item will create a lot of argument, but I have paved the way to where I am going.  We are not taking away the right to own guns.  We are interested in making sure those who have guns understand the responsibility that comes with that ownership.  In my opinion, I spent thirteen years in the Army so I know what guns can do and are capable of doing.  Again as I said, "This is my opinion."  The only guns Americans should be entitled to have, are single action weapons.  Weapons you must physically cock or load each time you shoot it.  That would include some pistols, bolt action rifles and a muzzle loaders.  Any weapon that you can simply keep pulling the trigger till it is empty is in a different category.  The only ones who should be allowed to possess or carry semi-automatic or automatic weapons are law enforcement.  Anyone else who wants a semi-automatic or automatic weapon should be required to have a permit, which should be renewable annually for a fee.  Just like the license plate on your car. In fact I personally would require each weapon to have a title and require it to be transferred every time a gun is sold.  Each weapon should be taxed annually also.  To get a permit to own an automatic weapon should require both and a mental and a background check.  If a weapon is used in a crime the licensed owner should be accountable.  It would not have to be an outrageous fee.  Ten dollars per weapon would be adequate.  Some will say, "but I have a hundred guns."  That is fine, just have as many as you can afford. The fees from this program would be used to pay for the gun education programs and registration programs.  Single action weapons would be exempt from registration and license fees.  Only those who want "special privileges" would pay for the programs. Legislators looking for a source of revenue, here is a potentially big one.

      The two largest mass murders in America did not even involve handguns.  Oklahoma City and 9/11 happened without a shot being fired.  All over the Middle East people die everyday and a shot is not fired.  Crazies will kill people if they are so inclined whether they have guns or not.  Educating society about how to get along would do far more than any gun laws ever will.

      I can hear the outcry but think about this.  This nation was made independent with single shot weapons. It was preserved as a nation with single shot weapons.  A single shot weapon well aimed is far more dangerous than a random spray of bullets.  Several of our own Presidents have paid the ultimate price to learn that. If you become President, believe it or not,  based on history you have a one in ten chance you will die in office.  Murder is nothing new, it is the escalation of frequency.  That and the lack of reason is what is making us more aware of the problem. The education and training of the citizens is in the interest of preserving our nation.  No one needs a rapid firing weapon for killing Bambi or taking out a rabbit or a squirrel.  Weapons that do more than that are for warfare and killing people, not animals.  There is no intention of taking away guns, but on educating the citizenship on their rights.  There is no intention to limit the number of guns you can have.  The intention is provide a system that makes it harder for the crazies to get the guns.  If you want the freedom to own the weapons, the tax is simply the price you pay for that right.  Much like property taxes, and license plates are the price one pays for ownership of those items.  Insurance companies might look into ensuring gun owners as a new source of revenue, instead of charging me deductibles so I will not use the insurance I have already paid them for.

     The final point I would make is that if you own a gun you are responsible for securing it.  If it happens to be used in the commission of a crime, you should be held to account as to why you were not in control of  the weapon you owned.  Failure to maintain  your control should be grounds for forfeiting your rights. The privilege of ownership comes with the duty and responsibility of safely securing your weapons.

Monday, December 10, 2012

MONEY...Real Estate..Rentals versus Storage

       If investing is about getting the absolute best return on your investment, "Getting the maximum return for the minimum expenditure," is one key to investing.  Making secure investments that do not disappear with the fluctuations in the market is another. Finally maintaining personal control so you can take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves is very important.

       As the year comes to a close it is a good time to lay out a plan for the coming year.  Sometime back, February 15, 2012 to be exact I wrote a piece entitled "From Trash to Treasures"  It told how I managed to turn getting rid of my trash from an expenditure to a profit.  My goal in this article is to share how to carry that a step farther and apply it to investments. Please bear with me as I give examples to show what I am talking about.  Over the time I have been writing I have stressed trying to be self-employed and managing your own budget.  Well this article will tackle a new way of looking at that.  I have always urged real estate as a way to invest and grow your money so you have control of it.  With real estate you have a physical asset you can see and hold.  It does not disappear with the fluctuations of the stock market or interest rates.  It may go down in value occasionally, but in the end, with sound management you still have the piece of property.  There are at least twelve articles on my blog about the how-to's of dealing in real estate.  Just type "tax sales" in the search bar and it will give you a list of articles that might be helpful.

     Simply applying the same rules I used in changing my trash from an expenditure to a source of income is one of the keys.  Most of us are not rich enough that we do not need to manage our resources wisely.  The people I gear my writing towards are those who do not have a lot of experience.  These are people who make bad decisions due to a lack of knowledge not because they are intentionally wasteful.  Here is a perfect example.  Recently I refinanced my house and in the process reduced the payment from $600 a month down to about $300.  Yes it stretched the term back out to fifteen years instead of the eight years or so that we had left.  At 66+ years my living another eight  years is iffy, especially as I have already been dead technically once already.  My spouse and I can use the extra income, "now" that our actions produced.  The main reason for doing it though was that we wanted/needed a new roof on our home.  We managed to borrow the money for that project as part of the loan.  Which was better than spending our savings or taking a second mortgage and creating a new or extra bill.  So why do I share this story, because of another story that did not turn out so good.

      I have/had a second hand business and just sold the building as part of our downsizing.  The nice thing about investing in real estate is that at some point you can turn it into cash as you need the income from it.  The trick is having enough to last you till you are gone. Still have forty five days to get out.  Anyhow the lady next door to my shop moved out and I did not realize she was gone till I was in the process of selling my building.  The young lady had a house she had paid on for over ten years and had a similar problem.  She needed a new roof but could not afford to do it.  Because of her lack of understanding she walked away from the home and moved out.  She had a ton of equity which she could have used to get a new roof and probably have cut her payment in half by simply refinancing the house.  She did not know she could do that.  Unfortunately for her we did not have this conversation till after the bad decisions were made and could not be reversed.  If you are young or even older and do not have much experience it would benefit you to seek out an older and more mature person who has been down the road and especially one you see as successful.  Often the solutions are right in front of us and within our means and we are just not looking at things from the proper perspective.

      Getting back on track with my opening statement,  "Getting the maximum return for the minimum expenditure," is key to any sound business or financial investment.   I know people who have ruined their credit trying to dabble in the real estate markets.  They used their good credit to by properties and then rented them while trying to make a normal mortgage payment.  There was not enough meat left on the bone for them to earn a profit.  When things started going wrong, as they often do, they were suddenly in over their head and in risk of not only loosing their "investment properties" but their personal properties which they had taken the equity out of in an effort to "get ahead."

      If you are going to get into the rental business the best way is to buy properties through "tax sales,"  Yes it may require some work, and some time if done right.  It will make it much easier to get by once the money starts coming in.  Mainly because you are not strapped with a mortgage payment.  Read my articles to see how this works.  My knowledge came over many years of my life.  From helping my Dad fix up properties when I was a kid still living at home.  From having made some bad financial and business decisions myself.  Also my civilian truck driving career started out working for a moving company.  If you have seen the TV series "Storage Wars," it is real and really happens all over the country all the time.  Over the years I saw it in action.  People lose their homes and put their "stuff" (read my article on "Stuffitis") in storage.  A few months later when the unemployment runs out and they can no longer make the payment on the storage unit they loose that stuff too.   Rental storage units have the "right" after ninety days to sell the contents of units that the rent is in arrears on.  It is a sad situation, but it is a fact of life.

      Sometimes people put stuff in storage and then die.  If no one in the family, or if there is no family, the rent does not get paid and the stuff goes up for sale.  From my experience people do not make the big money you see them making on the TV shows, but it does happen occasionally.  Most of the time half the stuff is nothing more than trash that should have be thrown away to start with.

     The final way I learned that storage units can be a sound investment is looking at banks and delivering goods to many of the building materials chains.  While trucking I delivered custom made kitchen cabinets to the companies that purchased them.  Say you go to Home Depot, or Lowe's and you buy all the materials to build a house.  You order the kitchen cabinets, appliances and many other items that are just for your home. The store orders the materials when you make the purchase.  You may not need it for ninety days or so.  The custom items may be delivered in about thirty days or so.  Well the stores do not have the space to hold all the orders they have coming in.  Their solution is to rent a storage unit and put the stuff in till it is time for it to be delivered.  Hopefully you can see that there is a huge demand out there for storage units.  Little businesses do the same thing to store stuff for seasonal sales.  That is why you are seeing an explosion of storage units across the country.  Starting your own small business, well here is the solution to one of your logistical problems.

      Around where I live the average unit runs about fifty cents per square foot per month.  A ten foot by ten foot unit would be about fifty dollars a month.  How does that compare to renting a house.  Well where I live rentals run on average from $450 a month to $600 a month.  They average from 1500 to 1800 square feet of space.  That means a rental house would make between twenty five cents per square foot and forty cents per square foot.   The upside of the rental storage unit is not that it pays more.  The real upside is that there are no utilities to keep up, (i.e. Furnace, water heater, air conditioner)  No tenants calling in the middle of the night, no holes in the walls and  no carpets to replace because of pets or kids destroying them.  Nobody moving out in the middle of the month or night and leaving  you hanging for the rent.  No fighting the courts to get out a deadbeat tenant.  If you put in place a good security system and control your units there is a lot of upside to storage unit versus a house rental.

      Also banks understand the concept as they are masters at it. The branch bank I deal with has safety deposit boxes.  Mine runs about $35 a year.  The little vault they have them in is about 6 foot wide and 6 foot tall.  It is about 16 inches deep.  Based on what I can see and what I pay that unit makes at least $3780 dollars per year.  That is a pretty good return on about ten square feet of floor space.  I figure that one little box pays most of  their utility bills.  Now that is maximizing your income.  So if you prepare your pitch well and you are even half ways decent at carpentry work you could get into the storage unit business very reasonably.  The variable is how tough the building codes and rules are where you live.  You could easily put 150 rental units on one acre of land.  If they were all full for a year the potential rent is around $90,000 a year.  It is something you can start small at and work your way up.  A twenty by twenty four foot garage could be converted to four units at roughly 10 foot X 12 foot  or a monthly rent of about $240.  Three garages would be a little less than 1500 square feet and the rent would be roughly $720 a month.  You can easily see it pays more than a house would return.  With a lot less risk.  Also if  a deadbeat does not pay his rent and you sell his stuff after 90 days you at least should get your rental money back, if not a lot more.  I would like to issue a warning here about using existing structures.  You need to know what  you are getting into.  I recently had a deal go south, mainly because I backed out of it.  I had misgivings about it and prayed about it.  While I may have lost a friend at least I can live with my conscience that I did not rip the person off.  After finding what he wanted to use the building for I am more convinced I made the right decision.  He may not see it that way.  Sometimes deals are not about money, if your conscience bothers you pray on the matter.  Even if you lose money and are at peace with yourself and God, that is all that matters.  If we had done the deal and he found out the building would not have worked out the friendship would have probably have suffered anyhow.  It was/is a 112 year building that has probably outlived its usefulness.  It will take more to fix the building up than it would cost to build new one. It is part of why I am writing this article to advise other people so they do not get into the same situation.

     One acre could handle six to eight houses depending on local zoning laws.  Even if you go with eight houses and rent at $600 the best you could do with houses is a gross of about $57,600.  So making the property into rental units has the potential to make $32,400 more on your investment.  The question is are you in it for the money or the return.  I can not tell you what the depreciation or appreciation would be on  the storage units verses the houses.  I know the rent will probably follow the market as will rental income from houses.  My goal is not to advise anyone to make a decision to pursue either house or storage rentals.  My goal was to show those who do not understand the market the potential that is out there and why rentals might be a good way to go.

     American's are not going to get over their bad case of Stuff-itis any time soon.  Americans hoard stuff because getting "STUFF" is what Americans do best.  However if we go over the "Fiscal Cliff"  personally I would lean toward storage units over houses.  It is estimated three to four million people will lose their jobs.  One of the government cutbacks is to do away with unemployment extensions.  It will not take long for the housing market to fall off another cliff.  Housing will drag us even farther down into a financial abyss.  The incompetent Congress has no clue how to end the slide.  A better way to say it is they know we need jobs, but they are taking no actions to create them. As more and more people lose any source of income the Great Depression will look like a cake walk. I would venture a market collapse and a bottom of 1600 to 2400, but I don't know anything,  I just study the Great Depression and realize we have not learned a thing.  At least back then the government was solvent, which is not the case in this day and age.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

2012 Economic Collapse?


      The above picture is funny till you consider the matter.  It is the perfect picture of the American government.  It can not get any traction or get anything done because the government is to big.  It is a situation that is not getting any better and stands to get a lot worse.  The media and politicians keep counting down till January 1st, but that is a big mistake.  The other day I was looking at my calendar and I realized that the 21st of December is not only the end of the world according to the Mayans.  It is the last effective working day of the year.  Christmas is on Tuesday and nothing will get done on Monday as it is Christmas Eve.  Then New Years day falls on the following Tuesday.  So there is a period of about 11 days that nothing meaningful will get done.  Congress goes on Christmas break and they will not want to work, not that they ever do anything even when they are in session.

     The credit rating agencies have warned if the United States fails to do something they will lower our credit rating.  It looks like that is what is going to happen.  The market can not get traction.  It seems stuck at the 13,000 mark.  The question is will the market end up back where it was when Obama took office.  For those who do not remember the market was at 7,949 on January 20th 2009 and by March it had dropped to a low of 6,469 points.  That was just from a minor shake up in the markets. The market had fallen to 45% of its all time high.  The all time high was 14,164 which it reached in October 2007.  That was in spite of the almost $4.00 a gallon price that gas hit earlier in the year.  I remember this only because it was at a period when I had no options about driving.  My mother was in the hospital with a terminal illness.  The point of all the above is what happens if the economy really goes bad.  Many compared it to the Great Depression.  In reality it did not even come close.

    The truth is that during the Great Depression the market lost 89% of its value.  To be equal in amount of loss the market would have to get down to about 1566 points.  What many do not realize is that there was a thirty month period between the market's high point and it's low point at the start of the Great Depression.  It was also still going on when World War II came along and rescued the economy.  Another thing that might show why this collapse could be worse is that the total national debt at the time of the collapse only equaled 38% of the GDP at the time.  At the end of World War II the government's total debt equaled 128% of the national GDP.  So all the forecasters that are harping on the GDP as an indicator are missing the boat.  The real problem was that the poor people could no longer survive in the economic environment of the time.  They quit buying and investing and started focusing on surviving.  The statistics for the recent Black Friday event might be an indicator of what is to come.  The size of the crowds were up compared to past Black Friday events.  The total sales however were down considerably.  That clearly says people are not buying and not spending their money.

      What the government does about the Fiscal Cliff will have serious consequences.  Either way the government has to cut spending.  Which in other words means cut jobs and add more people to the unemployment rolls.  That means the amount of revenue the Federal Government takes in will drop.  The government lost over 50% of it's income during the Great Depression.  With America's present debt load it does not take a rocket scientist to see that this could be a problem today.  If Congress fails to act and lets the mandatory tax increases and budget cuts go into effect the outcome will be much the same.  It will trigger a period of belt tightening by the lower income earners, which means reduced sales and a slowing economy.
The only thing that can fix the problem is the creation of jobs.  That is one problem the present administration can not seem to get it's hands around.  They give lip service to the issue, but no real solutions are forth coming.

     Then there is the problem of the Republi-can'ts.  They can not raise taxes even to pay for the two wars they voted for, but forgot to allocate funds for.  They were suppose to magically pay for themselves I guess.  At the same time they started the wars they gave one of the largest tax cuts in American history to the wealthy by reducing the Capital Gains Tax.  Restoring the Bush tax cuts till they have paid back the money the wealthy took away from government is a logical way to start paying down the debt that the Republi-can'ts created by their poor management.

      The one real possible solution is for the Congress to take a look at the Constitution and what it says their duties are.  Then they need to do them.  They are suppose to manage the money, the military and the welfare of the country.  They have failed on all three counts.  They have allowed the country to get sucked into wars and actions that America had no business getting involved in.  Partly because when they had the authority during the first Gulf War they failed to follow up and get rid of Saddam.  Later they manufactured a reason to finish the job they should have finished at the time of the first Gulf War.  The problem is across the board Congressional incompetence.  Their vision is totally focused on the next election, not the countries problems.

     Congress has failed totally to provide for the welfare of the country.  Had they created programs and allocated funds to maintain the infrastructure of the country it would not be falling apart.  They needed (or need) to create a program to maintain and develop the nations infrastructure, which is a duty clearly lined out for them to do in the Constitution.

      Based on what I am seeing the Fiscal Cliff may be a lot closer than many believe.  The end of the world that the Mayans spoke of may or may not happen.  It may turn out to be about as dangerous as Y2K did.  The Fiscal Cliff, however, is a real and present danger.  The cliff is not really the problem either.  The problem is how far down is the bottom of the abyss it is going to plunge the nation into.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pot Legalized!....Really?

         Before you pack your bags to head off to Colorado or Washington state to get a Rocky Mountain High you might want to check out what they really passed.  Technically pot is still illegal in Washington State.  They are just not prosecuting people for possession.  You can not grow your own.  That would define legal in my eyes.  The state is taking over the marijuana business from the criminals.  To sell it or grow it you have to be licensed by the state. The license will only cost you about $5000 dollars.  As I did my research I also found out if I understand it correctly you can not do both.  It is an either, or situation.  You can do one or the other.  Also you will be paying a 25% sales tax.  Oh and the state is modifying its driving under the influence law and you can now be charged with driving under the influence of both alcohol and cannibus.  Finally you still can not go to work high or get high at work.  Employers can still do drug screens and if you are under 21 years of age it is still illegal.  Washington State laws will start going into effect December 6th, 2012.

         The real reason for passing the law in Washington was to be able to pass the buck to the Federal government.  As it is now technically legal in Washington they are not spending their court money and time prosecuting what is a Federal Crime.  They also have been dropping charges and letting people go who  were caught prior to the law going into effect.  Surely they will be reviewing and letting prisoners out of their jails also.  The cost saving in this area alone could be into the millions of dollars.  Now they will tell the Federal government, "It is your law.  You enforce it, you pay for the trial, and you spend the money for the incarceration of those you catch."  This is a pretty sound decision based on a statement made by Deputy Attorney General David W.Ogden of the Obama administration.  He basically said, "It is not a wise use of Federal Funds to prosecute cases in states which have medical marijuana laws."  Well when he said it, it applied to thirteen states.  It now applies to eighteen states and the District of Columbia.  It appears even the Federal government is not willing to spend money enforcing their laws.

      Most people think legalizing pot is about getting high.  The reality is that it is all about money.  The states that legalized it can now tell the Federal government it is legal in their state.  They can simply refuse to enforce Federal law and not house prisoners.  Washington State made it very clear where they stand on the issue.  Even though the law does not go into effect till December 6th they dropped all the cases that were pending for drug related charges.  I am sure that saved the state a ton of money.  The next thing one can expect to see is the state cleaning out the prisons.  People with minor possession charges could be released for time served.  The potential savings just in that area is in the millions and millions of dollars.  When you add in the possible revenue that the state can get from taxing the now legal pot, state budgets may finally get some much needed relief. Sorry about repeating myself, but it is an important point in whole issue.

      What the states are really gambling on is that they can make money by taxing and licensing the growing and distribution of marijuana.  In this area Colorado is way ahead of many other states thanks to the actions of Deputy Attorney General Ogden.  They took the matter to the state house and approved a model medical marijuana system.  It is state licensed and state controlled.  When the State of Colorado legalized pot they did in fact legalize it for people over the age of 21.  You can grow up to six plants.  Three may be mature plants and three immature plants.  The catch is that it has to be grown in a controlled and secured environment.  One mature pot plant can be as big as a Christmas tree.  How many people can afford to house three full grown plants.  Colorado is only going to charge a 15% tax which is cheaper, but they will license all growing and selling operations and collect an annual license fee.   They have enacted laws to protect their already existing medical marijuana operations.  Also they are working toward making a way to grow a commercial grade pot for making paper, clothe, and rope.  Colorado definitely is far ahead of the other states when it comes to potentially creating jobs from the marijuana industry.  The Colorado laws do not go into effect until July of 2013 though.

   The real question is how the Federal government will react to the legalization of marijuana.  They can fight it, but if they do the states actually have a much better chance of winning than does the Federal government.  The Constitution makes clear that all rights not specifically given to the Federal government belong to the states.  As two former Presidents, Washington and Jefferson both grew marijuana on their farms it should be easy to prove that it was not the intent of the founding fathers to make marijuana illegal.  If the states win the battle it could be a big bonus for the Federal government. The Fed can then add on their taxes, release hundreds of thousands of prisoners and refocus billions of dollars in funds to more important purposes.

     So if you are considering relocating to get a Rocky Mountain High, Colorado might be the best choice.  Only time will tell if it matters at all.  If the world ends on 21st December as the Mayans predicted or the country goes off the fiscal cliff in January it may all be a moot point.  At least Coloradans will have a way to take their mind off the fact there are no jobs to be had as the economy moves from the edge of the cliff and into the abyss.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Grover Norquist, Patriot, Hypocrite, or Subversive?

        During the just ended election cycle one name kept popping up in the news over and over.  It seemed every time I turned around the name of Grover Norquist kept popping up.  The question that kept crossing my mind is why would anyone sign a pledge for him?  Especially as I find him to be a rather weaselly looking individual. Signing his pledge effectively tied the hands of any Congressman willing to stick by his word.  The whole thing raises a very major question.  Members of Congress take an oath to uphold the Constitution.  Swearing not to do something that is their duty could be construed as treason.  Norquist is smart as he is appealing to an issue that effects people's wallets.  Especially those who have big wallets.  The problem is his stance seems to be hypocritical.

        From what I have been able to find out about him on line.  He has supported wars in Afghanistan,  even helping the freedom fighters.  As his wife is of Middle Eastern background and Muslim he seems to have leaned toward their point of view.  Supposedly he was involved in the Iran-Contra affair during the Reagan administration.  So he believes in supporting or fighting wars.  Wars cost money and that money is usually raised in the form of taxes.  Mr. Norquist objects to raising taxes and could be viewed as a subversive based on that point of view.  His goal seems to be to create the problem he says he is trying to eliminate.  He complains of over spending and high debt, but his own actions are helping create the problem he is complaining of.

       When Congress ties their own hands and eliminates the tools they need to bring order to the domestic budget it is a sign of incompetence.  Not raising taxes definitely appeals to the fat cats who support the candidates in their election campaigns.  Raising taxes may limit Congressmen's ability to raise funds for future election campaigns.  The pledge is appealing to the Congressmen as they do not have to do anything.  That is of course exactly why America is in the situation it finds itself now in.  Congress has failed to do its job for the last twenty years if not longer.  The rise in national debt can easily be traced to bi-partisan actions during the Clinton administration.  Agreements between then President Clinton and then House Speaker Newt Gingrich initiated the explosive rise of the national debt and actions by Congress since that time have only escalated the problem.  If you want the whole story on this read my February 20, 2012 blog entry, "America's Economic Bipartisan Death Deal,"  it explains why our national debt is out of control.

     Please forgive me for getting side tracked from the reason for writing this post.  The reason for the side trip was to show that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were basically funded on credit and no taxes were raised or allocated for the fighting of those wars.  Norquist evidently had no problem with the burden those actions placed on the National Debt.  What I have been able to find on Mr. Norquist background is rather disturbing.  He attended the Leadership Institute which trains people to be more effective conservatives.  Some other graduates of the Institute are Karl Rove, Ralph Reid, and Senator Mitch McConnell all of whom have been involved in actions which seem to be aimed more at undermining government than promoting sound leadership.  Following the trail back far enough, through the leaders of the movements and schools, and you end up at the American Independence Party.  It was created by Alabama Governor George Wallace in his run to be President.  This explains their narrow minded, bigoted and racist points of view.  It also makes sense as to the anti Obama stance that they have taken so fervently.  Of course they will all deny that they have a racist, bigoted bone in their body.   America needs to wake up and see what some of these people in leadership roles actually believe in.   Their actions speak louder than their words.

    Getting back to Norquist.  He was involved in Afghanistan supporting the "Freedom Fighters" who were trying to throw Russia out of Afghanistan.  One of those "Good Guys," at the time was a guy named Osama bin Laden.  That was when he was fighting a war we not only sanctioned, but financed and which came back to bite America in the butt.  Did he have any contact with Osama?  I do not know, but I know his actions are doing exactly what Osama bin Laden advocated.  They are destroying the United States economically by binding Congress's hands and causing government to come to a standstill.  He may have used a legitimate weapon, but the outcome is still the same.  I can not prove his intentions, but I can say one thing.  His actions are as bad, if not far worse than Romney's "47% group."    He is not only making a living off the fat cats, that are to dumb to see that he is destroying the very system they need to make a living.   He is undermining the whole American government.  He has done it very skillfully.  So he is not only living off the system as the 47% are doing in an effort to survive.  He is attempting to destroy that very system to line his pockets.  Having said all that I will  not go into his support of pro Muslim groups that also are attempting to undermine our government..

     Congress needs to take a long hard look at Mr Norquist and see if his actions are not out of line with what he seems to advocate.  He has mastered the art of mining money from the hate groups of the extreme right.  The real kicker is that he is using that money to "support" groups the extreme right hates with a passion.  He has figured out how to have his cake and eat it too.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

This Generation Shall Not Pass, Are We It?

        It is hard to write about some things in the Bible.  Especially those things and times known as the End Time.  Just bringing it up can cause some people to go into a rage.  Others refuse to discuss it as being irrelevant and not worthy of discussion.  To the last group I have an answer.  If it was important enough for Jesus to spend his whole last night on earth discussing it with his disciples he evidently felt it was important.  If not why didn't he spend his time sharing and reminiscing with his followers.  Jesus prayer in John 17 shows that Christ prayed not just for those who were with him at that time.  He also prayed for us that would follow him based on their testimony. (verse 21)  Going to Luke 21:31 Jesus made it clear, "So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is at hand."  In the book of Luke, Jesus proclaimed, "This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled."  In the 21st chapter Jesus is giving all the signs and things that will come to pass as the end of time approaches. One of the prophecies he gives makes it clear that Israel for a time will not exist as a nation..He makes it clear in verse 24, "They shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."

      The above quotes raise two questions.  At least in my mind.  How long is a generation?  Also what and how long are the "Times of the Gentiles" that he speaks of.  They are related issues and they are important as they are the triggers.  These two events set the stage so those who follow Jesus will know that the end of time is drawing near.  If you have studied the events to come at the end time.  You will want to know.  It will not be a pleasant time.  Knowing that it will come to an end may give us courage to face the trials that are happening.

      Let me deal with the "Time of the Gentiles" first as it is easier to see and to explain.  Basically Jesus was saying there would be a period of time that the Gentiles would rule the world. Israel would not be a part of world of events as the Jewish people would be scattered.  Yet Israel is important in the Bible's description of end time events.  Therefore Israel had to be on the scene for the Bible's end time events to be fulfilled.  In 1947 the matter of Israel being a nation was bought before the United Nations and a vote was taken.  It was approved in November 1947, but Israel did not become a physical nation till May of 1948.  With Israel's return to the world scene and the Jews having a place to call home "The Time of the Gentiles" was over and prophecy was fulfilled. Read Isaiah 66:5-24, especially verse 8,  "a nation born in a day."  The rebirth of Israel started the end time clock ticking.  The question now is how long is a generation.

      There are several interpretations of what a generation is.  I will give a couple and hopefully it will make sense to you. In the book of Numbers the 32nd chapter verses 11 to 13 give a couple time frames.  Verse eleven says that none of the men from twenty years old and upward would enter the promised land.  So is generation twenty years.  If you continue to read the Bible verse thirteen says God made them wander in the wilderness for forty years so that all those who were twenty or above would pass away and not enter into the Promised land.  Well twenty and forty equal sixty years of age.  So sixty years could be used to describe a generation.  Some people believe that Numbers 32:15 declares a generation to be forty years.  Often I hear people say it is a seventy year period, but I have found no justification for it.  There are some seventy year time periods, but nowhere did I read that seventy was a generation.  I have been wrong before. so if someone finds the time frame I would appreciate if they would share the verses with me.

      So the question is what does God say a generation is.  God gives us some facts that narrow down what a generation is according to him.  Genesis 15:12-16 says Abrams children would be in a land not theirs and that they would be afflicted for 400 years. It also says they will come out of that land in the fourth generation.  Well none of the previously mentioned numbers work.  Four times seventy only adds up to only 280 years.  So the number has to be a number greater than 100.  Reading further we find in Exodus 12:41 it says they left Egypt after 430 years to the day.  Then they wandered in the wilderness for forty years before entering the Promised Land.  God made clear that they would enter in to the Promised Land in the fourth generation.

      If we go to Genesis 6:3 it declares mans days shall be 120 years.  There are many life terms given of the people and leaders before Moses.  All lived longer time periods than 120 years.  The first to die at less than a hundred and twenty years was Joesph who died at 110 years of age.  Moses was 120 when he died. If you multiply that number times four you come up with 480.   Which is a number that works and would put them in Promised land in the fourth generation.

      Moses lived 120 years and spent forty years in Egypt, then forty years on the back side of the desert before being called to lead Israel to the promised land.  So God did his work in Moses's life in his last forty years.  From the birth of Jesus to the destruction of the temple was seventy years.  Jesus did his work and ministry in the middle of that seventy year period.  The nation of Israel went into the Babylonian captivity for a period of seventy years and spent all seventy years there.  I thought there was no seventy year period at the time of Moses, but I was wrong.

     So what does all this mean.  Not a lot till you do some more research and put it all together.  If Israel became a nation in 1947 and you add 120 years to that date you come up with the year 2067.  Many people do not know that Sir Issac Newton was a Biblical scholar and he came up with an end date of 2062.  There is another number that seems to pop up frequently and shows another timeline, within a timeline.  From the birth of Jesus till the destruction of the temple which he prophesied was a period of seventy years.  Israel was in the Babylonian captivity for seventy years.  I did not think that mattered at the time of Moses because they wandered in the wilderness forty years.  If you pay attention to what it says though, there is a seventy year period at the time of Moses.  In the book of Joshua it says, "Joshua died being 110 years old.  The significance of that is found in Joshua 14:7.  It says that when Moses sent Joshua to search out the land he was forty years old.  That was before the forty years of wondering in the wilderness.  If you subtract 40 from 110 you come up with another 70 year period.  If you go seventy years from Israel becoming a nation that gives you a date of 2017.

      The generational time period of 120 years is consistent with what God proclaimed a generation to be.  I have a much longer writing where I show what I think it all means.  It shows God is the same yesterday, today and forever and that he works in a consistent pattern.  There is a seven part post on my blog called, Further Down the Path.  Part one is dated 3/23/2012 and is basically a book I decided to print an give away free to those interested.  It was a 168 pages but was turning into a biography.  I went back and cut most of me out.  Some had to stay to explain how I came to the understanding that I have of what the Bible says on the End Time.  I invite you to read it.  If nothing else read part seven and it may open your eyes to some things that have always been there for us to see, but I learned more by changing how I looked at the Bible.  It is nothing knew, but it is how it is explained that makes it say anything.  We are beyond the middle point of a 120 year period.  We are approaching the seventy year mark and in my book I explain why that may be significant.  Jesus said we would not know the day nor the hour.  He said we would be able to discern the times though.  The question is are we in that time frame.  You have to make up your own mind on that.

    One of the only prophecies in the Bible that has not been fulfilled as far as I can tell is the coming of the two witnesses to the End Time mentioned in Revelation 11.  That prophecy could not have been fulfilled till this day and age, but now it can.  Why couldn't it have happened before?  It says the witnesses shall be slain and lay dead in the streets of Jerusalem for three days. It also says they shall be viewed by the whole world and people will celebrate their death.  That prophecy has only been able to be fulfilled in the last few years.
So now it can come to pass.  To me that is the point at which the Rapture happens if you believe in it.  So the stage is set.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Deficit, The GDP and Other Media Lies

        The media loves to spin things to make it look like they have a complete understanding of all that is going on in the world around them.  They really do not have a clue.  They are victims like the rest of us.  When crisis happens they feel obligated to spout some form of understanding of what is going on.  The recent attack on our embassy in Libya is a perfect example.  They took what they heard the government say and ran with it.  They published it loud and wide.  Only a few weeks later the facts came out.  Now they want to point fingers and scream with indignity that they were lied to.  Well their job is to check the facts and put them out and not create their own facts.  Here is an example of what I am talking about.

        All through this election cycle the media has been screaming.   "No President has ever been re-elected when the unemployment rate has been over 8%.   Well the facts do not back that statement up.  The unemployment rate in 32 when FDR was elected was 23.6%,  by 1936 he had managed to trim it 19.9% and by 1940 the rate was down to a respectable 14.6%.. What those numbers fail to show is that in 1937 FDR thought the economy was getting better and they increased taxes.  Growth stopped dead in its tracks.   They back tracked and the numbers were coming down as we approached World War II.  The war is the only thing that created a stimulus.     The rate did go down to 1.2% by the 1944 election.

       Today we are facing mandatory tax increases in January of 2013.  If Congress fails to act, and the taxes are allowed to go up it will end any forward motion the economy is having.  The recent public debates have shown that neither party has a clear answer to the problems.  Candidate Ryan showed clearly that he is still for wasting money on war.  He said he did not approve of pulling out troops.  He did not say how he would pay for that continued commitment to Afghanistan.  The failure to appropriate funds to pay for the war is half of why our national debt is skyrocketing.  My personal opinion is I am far more willing to spend money to help my fellow Americans.  Spending money to help people who still have a stone age mentality is a waste of time.  You can put a suit on a gorilla and it may look nice, but that does not mean it is any smarter.

      Neither party has a definite plan to create jobs.  All through the roaring twenties the property markets were losing ground.  The industrial growth more than compensated for the losses experienced by farmers. In 1928 unemployment was 4.2% and things seemed rosy.  The problem was that people were starting to feel the effects of the losses in the real estate markets and cutting back on investing.  As soon as the little guys quit buying things the markets started to dry up.  Suddenly the demand for steel to make cars and planes was going down.  It started a movement that turned into a tidal wave.  It is the little people that drive the markets with their expenditures, not the wealthy.  The wealthy add to the problem by hoarding their money instead of reinvesting it.

       While I personally do not like FDR he did understand the situation pretty well.  He made the comment,
"We have nothing to fear, but fear itself."  He understood that if people felt threatened they tended to hold on to what they had and ride out the storm.  They did not want to lose what they had.  The problem with that mindset was that as they held on to their money it created a snowball that just kept growing.  America is at the same point again.  Americans are showing signs that they believe that things are getting better.  The snowball is half ways down the slope and whether it continues to the bottom or melts where it is at depends basically on perceptions.

      The media has also been saying this is the worse recession since the Great Depression.  Based on that fact higher unemployment numbers should be expected.  The present administration does not have some magic bullet to fix the problem.  The media is screaming that the GDP is the greatest sign we have of a problem.  Well they do not get it at all.  The national debt at the start of Great Depression was only 38% of  GDP, and the economy collapsed.   Yet in 1945 at the end of World War II the national debt was 122% of the GDP and it did not stop the economy.   In fact the economy took off and boomed for years.  The difference was jobs.

      I hear the candidates all talking about the need for jobs, but they are not talking about how or what kind of jobs they will create.  They talk about creating an environment for growth, but they do not say how they will create that growth.  They do not say what kind of jobs they will encourage.  If the mandatory tax hikes are allowed to happen millions of jobs will be lost.   If the Republicans win and they make all the cuts they are proposing millions of jobs will be lost.  Neither of these situations will stop pushing the snowball down the hill.   Cutting business taxes and doing away with loopholes will help the situation.  Creating jobs fixing infrastructure may spend money, but it does create jobs, that may help create more jobs.  This in turn creates more tax revenue which gives the government more money to pay its bills and reduce its debt.

      Reducing the debt is one thing that has to be a priority.  After World War II the government paid down the debt.  We need to focus in that direction again.  Building infrastructure to support the war machine and rebuild the World after World War II is what drove our economy.  The problem was we were so busy helping the World we failed to take care of our own problems.   As we modernize an rebuild America it will create a new wave of jobs and prosperity.  While I agree with candidate Romney that the Government is not the one that creates jobs.  It is the one that creates the demands for improvements that drives the need for jobs.  We need to build the infrastructure that will help us compete in the 21st Century.  It is also not the governments job to support industries such as solar and wind energy.  The government however can help create markets  by reducing the political obstacles to growth.  Tariffs not thought out can cost as many jobs as they create.  We need to keep our eye on what really levels the playing field.

      What would help is if the media would read Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution and ask Congress why they are not doing their job.  Why have they failed to do the duties assigned to them in the Constitution. What are they going to do about their duty to manage the governments spending?  What are they going to do about the military that they no longer seem to be in charge of?  Finally when are they going to define what providing for the Welfare of America covers?  They need to wake up and do their job.  I think Welfare can be defined pretty clearly by what the average person provides for their own family.  Shelter, Food, Clothing, Healthcare, Education  and Security which are all the things they need to grow.  Just as our nation needs the same things to grow.  Wasting funds as they are in Afghanistan is shortchanging Americans that could put the funds to much better use.

      We still need to defend America but how we do it could change.  We could and can use the drones, cruise missiles and sniper units that are supplied with intelligence from an Army of undercover spies that makes each engagement with enemies of our country a terminal event.  We need to use a surgical strategy and the not the sledgehammer approach we used kill a few cockroaches. We need to cut off all aid to countries that support our enemies, like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.  Put all those nations on a target list and let it be known if they support terrorist they will receive appropriate retaliation for any attacks originating from their countries.  A bomb on the home neighborhood of all the 9/11 terrorist might have been cruel, but it would have be just payback.  Those people would not be less innocent than were the Americans killed by their friends and neighbors.  They would understand their is a price to be paid for supporting terrorism.  That may sound barbaric, but it would be speaking to them in a language they may understand.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Big Bird An Endangered Species, Under Romney's Axe

       Mitt Romney may have seemed to win the debate on Wednesday night, but at what cost.  The truth came out about how ruthlessly he will cut and downsize the government.  His goal is to get rid of PBS and Big Bird.  The spending on Big Bird is just a sign of the problem, but getting rid of him is definitely not the solution to the problem.  Romney showed there are no sacred cows, or birds, when the budget ax is in his hand.  Does the government need to be down sized.  Yes it does need to be downsized, but in doing so we need to look at the worth of the programs we are axing.  Big Bird is an educational icon.

      I doubt many people knew that Big Bird, in reality, is one of "Those People."  He is one of the deadbeats  in Romney's 47% living off the government, that candidate Romney plans to give the ax.  While Romney professed to be pro-education he threatened to get rid of an education program that has been around for over 40  years.  It shows the absolute ruthlessness of his cost cutting measures.  Yes the government needs to be downsized, but it needs to be done with some common sense.  Article 1. Section 8 says clearly that it is Congress's duty to promote the progress of science and the "useful arts."  Education is considered useful by most people. The people who get the ax under the "Romney Plan" will join the ranks of the unemployed.   Putting more people on unemployment.  That may not be a problem though, as that may be another program, Romney plans to do away with.

      One of the few comments of Romney worth mentioning was his slam of Obama's renewable energy programs.  Yet he defended giving the rich oil companies their tax breaks and handouts by the government. That only proves his willingness to help the rich get richer and while keeping the poor in their place.  He did, however, make the point it is not the governments duty to invest in renewable energy companies.  The only roll of government in promoting renewable energy should be the elimination of regulatory road blocks.  The putting in place of tariffs to level the playing field is not a solution either.  Many companies that buy parts overseas create assembly jobs here in America.  Decisions on tariffs should be better thought out before putting them in place.

     While the Constitution was mentioned, the issue of infrastructure was not.  The failure of Congress and the the government to perform the duties delegated to them by the Constitution was totally ignored. If you wonder what I am talking about on the duties of the Congress, type Congress in the search bar on this blog and it will take you to my discussions on this issue.  Almost all the problems facing America today have been created by and aggravated by total government incompetence.  Most of the Congress have no clue what the view of the Constitution is.  Many of the programs that should be run by the states have been taken over by the Federal Government.  Also many of the programs created by the Federal Government have no validity under the Constitution.

     Romney may have technically won the debate, but I feel one sacred cow (Bird) he stepped on may have been a big enough gaffe to cost him the election.  Only time will tell, but he definitely may have lost the youth vote. He let the cat out of the bag as to what his intention really are.  While he may have been good in the debate, the real Romney came out in force.  Yet he never gave definition or defined what cuts he would make, and to what programs, other the axing of PBS and Big Bird.

    President Obama could pick up on a couple of Romney's business ideas and implement them himself after he is re-elected.  Obama could implement the across the board cuts Romney spoke of.  In fact Obama could offer Romney a job as middle man between him and the Republican Congress.  If Obama put forth Romney's ideas they would be shot down.  Mainly because they would be coming from the President.
There is a deep seated bias and racism in Congress's attitude.  I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer.  However, when I was in the Army they made me the token white in a twelve man room.  For quite awhile I was the minority and I did learn what bias and discrimination are all about.  When you offer an idea that your enemy advocated and they reject it, it is a sign of bias and bigotry.  When I see some of the Congressmen talking I can almost picture them using the N__ Word in their speeches.  In private conversations I am sure some of them do use the Word.  They were not elected to get rid of the President.  They were elected to serve the country.  The first thing many of them need to do is read the Constitution and come to an understanding of what it says and means.  That would give Congress direction and solve many of the problems facing this country today.   If nothing else they need to understand, and define the word Welfare and what it means in relation to the Constitution and their duties to this country.  That would be a big step toward fixing the problems with our country.  It is "their duty" to control the spending, taxes and budget of the United States.  So our present situation stems from "their failure" to do "their job."

    Maybe a petition needs to be put forward to make Big Bird the national bird.  Then he could be protected  as an endangered species.  I am sure they could create dozens of agencies and an programs to ensure his safety as a national icon.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

End The Insanity, Vote Libertarian, Make A Statement

       It is time to end the insanity in American politics.  The definition of Insanity is "Doing the same thing, over and over, the same way and expecting to get different results."  Which is a perfect description of the present political system in American.  We vote one party in and they pass rules.  Then we vote the other party in and they undo what the previous party did.  This has been done over and over again for years.  It is starting to take its toll on America.

      Almost all the problems America is suffering under have come from poor leadership of the parties in power.  The government has done nothing to solve the problems, they created the problems. Whether you are talking about the job situation, the housing problem, the banking problems, international relations or the big ones like the the deficit and the economy.  They all stem from poorly planned and laid out government policies.  It is not a matter of who is in charge.  Both sides contribute to the problems.  Whether it's the Republi-can'ts who will not raise taxes to cover the spending on wars and programs they created.  Or if it is the Dum-ol'crats who keep approving programs and spending every penny the country has. The only upside of either party is that the Dum-ol'crats at least raise taxes and appropriate the funds they intend to spend.  They also offer a budget.  Well at least until Obama came along.  The Republi-can'ts on the other hand just spend it and keep saying they will make cuts to pay for their spending.   Which they never do.

      So the question is, "If you are tired of the same stupid incompetence in Washington, why do you keep voting for it?"  The only way to change the pattern is to break the cycle that is causing it.  That means either voting for a third party or starting a third party.  If we fail to do so we must by definition be insane.  Well I like to at least think I am sane.  That being said I am attempting to set up my own party.  It is called The Constitutional American Reform Party.  It is based entirely on what I perceive the Constitution to say are the duties of Congress and what the Constitution says about our rights.  Yes I have some radical ideas.  Most of them have to do with things where the Congress has exceeded its authority under the Constitution.

      I am not afraid to say I am voting for the Libertarian Party this fall.  First it comes closer to expressing my point of view than either of the mainstream parties.  Maybe if enough Americans would wake up and send a message that we are tired of business as usual.  If enough people voted for the Libertarian ticket it could make a difference.  It could send a message that we are tired of the "Status Quo."  However, like sheep going to slaughter most Americans will do the same things they have always done.  The problems will continue on till the country marches off the fiscal cliff and plunges the nation into depression.  Then the only thing that may save individuals is either anarchy or revolution.  That is scary stuff.  It is the reality facing America, and not that far down the road.  Maybe the problem is that most Americans figure the world is going to end the 21st of December so their decisions do not matter.  All I can say to that matter is that if it does not end physically on the 21st.  It will start collapsing financially on January 1st, 2013.

    From what I have been hearing and reading the state of Colorado may be the hardest to determine in the voting equation.  Several states have marijuana legalization issues on the ballots.  The only one supposedly in line with the majority of the voters opinion on the issue is he Libertarian candidate.  Their presidential candidate is an ex-governor who is pro-pot.  So there are a couple states that could swing away from the mainstream politics.  That would happen simply because neither of the mainstream candidates is pro-pot.
The issue could be a game changer in Colorado.

    Admittedly even if a candidate was elected to the presidency he could not get much done.  He would be bucking both parties.  What he would have behind him is a mandate that Americans are ready for change.  The incumbents are smart enough to see the writing on the wall.  They will quickly see if they do not change directions and figure out how to be competent, they may soon no longer be incumbents.

     People say well if you vote for a third party you are throwing your vote away.  Well I would rather throw it away voting for a candidate I agree with.  That would be far better than voting for someone who I do not only disagree with, but question their competence to do the job.  At least then I can look at the mess and say I voted against that.

    Each person has to do what they think is right for them.  My goal is to vote for the change we did not get with Obama.  I can take four more years of him before I can vote for Romney and I have always voted Republican when I have voted for a mainstream candidate.  It will not be the first time I have voted Libertarian.  I always do when the choice is between the lesser of two evils.  Vote your conscience, but do not whine to me if you vote for the main stream candidates.

    You are invited to read my party platform and make comments.  You can find it on the internet at   The Constitutional American Reform Party, or C.A.R.P. which translates to carp which means to complain.  It is also a type of fish which is thought to be distasteful, but if you know how to prepare it is good eating.   Yes it is also a Christian based party.  I can no longer follow the self righteous conservative views of the Republican Party and I certainly can not be part of a party that booed God at their convention.  Maybe I march to a different drummer, but at least the music is more pleasing to my taste.