Monday, September 29, 2008

Ordinary Canadians on the Arts

Here's a message from some ordinary Canadians about Stephen Harper's arts funding cuts.

I'm going to keep moving it to the top, because I think it's important.

Some thoughts on this current market turmoil.

This is part of the letter I got today from my finacial adviser.

I thought I'd share it because it is a reminder that things in the market are not as bleak as Dubya says they are. All he's doing is one last giant money grab.

Hi everyone,

In light of recent market conditions some of you may have some concerns about the state of the markets. Here is some information that might help to put things into perspective.

It may shock you but history does repeat itself...

Decade   Market Return World Events
1950’s 12.7% Korean War, US Seizes Steel Mills, Russia Explodes H-Bomb, Suez Crisis, Recession, Castro Takes over Cuba
1960’s 10.0% JFK Assassinated, Berlin Wall Erected, Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam War begins, Mao in China, Newark Race Riots, USS Pueblo Seized
1970’s 10.4% OPEC Crisis, Terrorists at Munich Olympics, Watergate, Largest US trade deficit to date, Steepest market drop in 4 decades, Tangshan Earthquake kills 240,000 people, American hostages in Iran.
1980’s 12.2% Interest Rates at all-time high, Worst recession in 40 years (Markets hit new highs following year), AIDS discovered, Black Monday (DOW drops 22.6% in one day)
1990’s 10.6% Y2K, Persian Gulf War, End of Cold War/Berlin Wall Fall, Oklahoma City Bombing, Global Recession, Asian Flu, Mad Cow Disease, Euro introduced
2000’s6.2% (as of Sep 15, 2008) Tech bubble burst, Largest market correction in Canada & US since the Great Depression, September 11th, Enron, World Com, Iraq / Afghanistan War, Credit Crunch, Income Trusts, Oil & Gold at record highs, Bear Sterns & Lehman Brothers collapse

Four things you need to keep in mind about Bear Markets

1. Bear Markets are an essential, immutable, constant element of the economic cycle. Human nature drives the economy, and the economy drives the stock markets. People tend to overshoot and then undershoot the long term growth trends of the economy. This type of behaviour leads to unpredictable returns in the market place which is precisely why markets earn high returns over the long term.

2. Bear Markets are as common as dirt. In the 63 years since the end of WW2 there have been 13 bear markets. These bear markets have averaged a decline of 29% and lasted on average 15 months. On the flip side, bull markets last on average 26 months and average +71%. I am very confident that the prices we see for common stocks in the market today are low and when the market takes off again, we will never see these prices again.

3. Bear Markets are a temporary interruption of a permanent uptrend. The advance is permanent over the long term and there is over 100 years of data to certify this.

4. Bear Markets are why equity returns are what they are. It is the volatility in the market place caused by investor behaviour which allows people to get wealthy over the long term.

Here's the info. for my financial guy. He's good, so he deserves some publicity:

Paul Lambe, CFP, FMA
Financial Consultant
Investors Group Financial Services Inc.
700-295 The West Mall, Etobicoke, ON M9C 4Z4
(T) 416-695-8600 ext. 261 (F) 416-695-4480 1-888-397-5795

Letter from Michael Moore about the Big Wall Street Bailout

Well worth reading:


Let me cut to the chase. The biggest robbery in the history of this country is taking place as you read this. Though no guns are being used, 300 million hostages are being taken. Make no mistake about it: After stealing a half trillion dollars to line the pockets of their war-profiteering backers for the past five years, after lining the pockets of their fellow oilmen to the tune of over a hundred billion dollars in just the last two years, Bush and his cronies -- who must soon vacate the White House -- are looting the U.S. Treasury of every dollar they can grab. They are swiping as much of the silverware as they can on their way out the door.

No matter what they say, no matter how many scare words they use, they are up to their old tricks of creating fear and confusion in order to make and keep themselves and the upper one percent filthy rich. Just read the first four paragraphs of the lead story in last Monday's New York Times and you can see what the real deal is:

"Even as policy makers worked on details of a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it.

"Financial firms were lobbying to have all manner of troubled investments covered, not just those related to mortgages.

"At the same time, investment firms were jockeying to oversee all the assets that Treasury plans to take off the books of financial institutions, a role that could earn them hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees.

"Nobody wants to be left out of Treasury's proposal to buy up bad assets of financial institutions."

Unbelievable. Wall Street and its backers created this mess and now they are going to clean up like bandits. Even Rudy Giuliani is lobbying for his firm to be hired (and paid) to "consult" in the bailout.

The problem is, nobody truly knows what this "collapse" is all about. Even Treasury Secretary Paulson admitted he doesn't know the exact amount that is needed (he just picked the $700 billion number out of his head!). The head of the congressional budget office said he can't figure it out nor can he explain it to anyone.

And yet, they are screeching about how the end is near! Panic! Recession! The Great Depression! Y2K! Bird flu! Killer bees! We must pass the bailout bill today!! The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

Falling for whom? NOTHING in this "bailout" package will lower the price of the gas you have to put in your car to get to work. NOTHING in this bill will protect you from losing your home. NOTHING in this bill will give you health insurance.

Health insurance? Mike, why are you bringing this up? What's this got to do with the Wall Street collapse?

It has everything to do with it. This so-called "collapse" was triggered by the massive defaulting and foreclosures going on with people's home mortgages. Do you know why so many Americans are losing their homes? To hear the Republicans describe it, it's because too many working class idiots were given mortgages that they really couldn't afford. Here's the truth: The number one cause of people declaring bankruptcy is because of medical bills. Let me state this simply: If we had had universal health coverage, this mortgage "crisis" may never have happened.

This bailout's mission is to protect the obscene amount of wealth that has been accumulated in the last eight years. It's to protect the top shareholders who own and control corporate America. It's to make sure their yachts and mansions and "way of life" go uninterrupted while the rest of America suffers and struggles to pay the bills. Let the rich suffer for once. Let them pay for the bailout. We are spending 400 million dollars a day on the war in Iraq. Let them end the war immediately and save us all another half-trillion dollars!

I have to stop writing this and you have to stop reading it. They are staging a financial coup this morning in our country. They are hoping Congress will act fast before they stop to think, before we have a chance to stop them ourselves. So stop reading this and do something -- NOW! Here's what you can do immediately:

1. Call or e-mail Senator Obama. Tell him he does not need to be sitting there trying to help prop up Bush and Cheney and the mess they've made. Tell him we know he has the smarts to slow this thing down and figure out what's the best route to take. Tell him the rich have to pay for whatever help is offered. Use the leverage we have now to insist on a moratorium on home foreclosures, to insist on a move to universal health coverage, and tell him that we the people need to be in charge of the economic decisions that affect our lives, not the barons of Wall Street.

2. Take to the streets. Participate in one of the hundreds of quickly-called demonstrations that are taking place all over the country (especially those near Wall Street and DC).

3. Call your Representative in Congress and your Senators. (click here to find their phone numbers). Tell them what you told Senator Obama.

When you screw up in life, there is hell to pay. Each and every one of you reading this knows that basic lesson and has paid the consequences of your actions at some point. In this great democracy, we cannot let there be one set of rules for the vast majority of hard-working citizens, and another set of rules for the elite, who, when they screw up, are handed one more gift on a silver platter. No more! Not again!

Michael Moore

P.S. Having read further the details of this bailout bill, you need to know you are being lied to. They talk about how they will prevent golden parachutes. It says NOTHING about what these executives and fat cats will make in SALARY. According to Rep. Brad Sherman of California, these top managers will continue to receive million-dollar-a-month paychecks under this new bill. There is no direct ownership given to the American people for the money being handed over. Foreign banks and investors will be allowed to receive billion-dollar handouts. A large chunk of this $700 billion is going to be given directly to Chinese and Middle Eastern banks. There is NO guarantee of ever seeing that money again.

P.P.S. From talking to people I know in DC, they say the reason so many Dems are behind this is because Wall Street this weekend put a gun to their heads and said either turn over the $700 billion or the first thing we'll start blowing up are the pension funds and 401(k)s of your middle class constituents. The Dems are scared they may make good on their threat. But this is not the time to back down or act like the typical Democrat we have witnessed for the last eight years. The Dems handed a stolen election over to Bush. The Dems gave Bush the votes he needed to invade a sovereign country. Once they took over Congress in 2007, they refused to pull the plug on the war. And now they have been cowered into being accomplices in the crime of the century. You have to call them now and say "NO!" If we let them do this, just imagine how hard it will be to get anything good done when President Obama is in the White House. THESE DEMOCRATS ARE ONLY AS STRONG AS THE BACKBONE WE GIVE THEM. CALL CONGRESS NOW.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Geek Link!

Because science is fun:

Top 10 Amazing Physics Videos

The videos range from hilarious to strange to all out informative. Check out the "Large Hadron Collider Rap."

H/T to Sara, my lovely wife, who spotted these.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Slacker Uprising

Michael Moore has a new movie out, and it's free!

You can get the entire movie as a free download on September 23 by going to the website and signing up. It documents his campaign to get the youth vote out in 2004, and looks like it should be fun.

Here's the trailer:

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