Chinese Economy May Overtake USA This Year

Chinese GDP (Purchasing Power Parity) may surpass the US this year (at around 16 trillion USD). Purchasing power parity adjusts GDP based on costs in a country – for example if average costs in China are half those in the US then their PPP should be around double of their nominal – which is almost true. China’s nominal GDP stands around 9 or 10 trillion this year. The first quarter the US economy grew a very tiny 0.1%, which is very tiny compared to a approximately 9% growth rate happening in China. It will really be interesting to see what the world is like when the Chinese economy becomes the largest – and how that will affect the balance of power around the world.

Hagel Not Responsible for Military Cuts

Today I read a lot of news headlines that read “Pentagon’s Chuck Hagel Plans to Downsize Military”, “Hagel’s Pentagon Cuts Target Top Brass”, and “Get real, Hagel tells nation in proposing military cuts.” All of these headlines put the emphasis and responsibility of the cuts on the man who came up with the plan. However, it should be noted that this plan is based on following the budget that was passed by our Federal government – and a president who was elected to a large part in reducing military action overseas. The military budget has become so large that it is considered by some to be dead-weight in moving forward with getting into a balanced budget scenario. Unfortunately for libertarian thinking folks government spending will not really go down, but will be shifted from military to social programs including Obamacare – the best result would be a reduction in spending in both categories.

Now, having discussed how Hagel is not responsible with having to do cuts, one should argue that Hagel IS responsible for how those cuts were allocated. He will be reducing the size of the military manpower while not really touching how much is spent on nuclear defence – although we have the nuclear capability to eliminate the entire planet, let alone any aggressor country. Hagel is eliminating the A10 and U2 programs, one which is a low altitude low speed highly durable plane that was introduced in the 1950’s which became known as the “Tank Killer”, while the other was the main plane used for high altitude surveillance over Russia during the Cold War.

I guess time will tell whether or not this military reduction will be a good thing or bad thing, however I am certain there will be folks that are incensed at reducing military size or strength (even though our military budget is HUGE).

Crime Doesn’t Pay Unless Criminals Don’t Get Caught

You’ve head it before and today you hear it again – Crime Doesn’t Pay. Because it doesn’t! Today I read an article that seems as fake as flying frogs – a thug fired a shot at someone who was willingly giving up his possessions during a robbery and the bullet ricocheted of the crime victim’s face and hit and killed a criminal accomplice! Poetic justice at its finest. You can see the full story here.

Is it true that crime doesn’t pay? Or is it only true that stupid crime doesn’t pay? Take Bernie Madoff, for example – here is a man who was able to con some very rich and powerful folks into a pyramid scheme because he had confidence and had run his private company for 40 years before a large market crash exposed his lies and caused the stack of cards to tumble. Are there yet even more powerful players at play currently that are doing things that would be classified as crimes but don’t get caught because of their power or influence?

Today I encourage you all to think twice about how secure you think you are and be vigilant – not only against petty thugs who will rob you and shoot you while you are willingly giving away your possessions. Are you being robbed by folks you think you can trust? Think thoughtfully and carefully on this subject, leaving no stone unturned. You might have just saved yourself from being Madoff’ed!

My Opinion on CVS Ceasing the Sale of Tobacco

After watching a news clip reporting on the news that CVS will cease tobacco sales in October and doing a bit of searching on social media for folks’ reaction I have come to my own conclusion on the subject. I am perfectly fine with the news, in fact if I was living in the US I would frequent CVS more often because of their decision. It is not a slap in the face of the free market, it is the essence of the free market. I’m glad it didn’t take Federal intervention to get them to do this, they did it of their own accord and the free market will judge whether or not it was the right move.

About 20% of Americans smoke, so CVS will lose out not only on cigarette sales but also on other items smokers buy when they stop in to buy a pack or two – looking at the stock market I see CVS is down about 1.5% while Walgreens is up around 1% on the news. On the other hand, CVS can definitely use this decision to further cement the idea that they are a company interested in the well-being of customers instead of selling medicine on one side while selling poison on the other.

While some folks are criticizing Walgreens for not pushing their idea further and banning alcohol and unhealthy food sales, I think that what CVS has done is a reasonable step in the right direction.

Forbes Shows Bias in Reporting – Not Amused

Check out the following article:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2013/09/30/new-poll-only-one-third-of-americans-support-repealing-defunding-or-delaying-obamacare/

The title reads “Only One-Third of America Support Repealing Obamacare. They do not mention in that less than 1/3 of those polled want the Obamacare law to take effect! Now whether or not you support Obamacare is a completely separate issue – it would be like saying having a headline saying “Only 1/3 of the population want to impeach Obama” when less than 1/3 of the population supports Obama. Either way if that was the case we can safely say Obama does not have good support – the same which now applies to Obamacare.

Although the news sometimes presents facts, it will twist it for the general populace to be deceived into following its agenda.

Check out my New Website

My friend Damien and I started a website called ‘The Highest Return’. The purpose of this website is to consolidate all of our thoughts that are related to investing and saving and put them into a one stop place for folks like you to check out and hopefully learn a thing or two about investing. Along with the content, we have set up a practice stock trading game that puts our ideas to the test against the real stock market and is open for any readers to join. Please check it out when you have time.

URL: http://www.thehighestreturn.com

Cyprus Bank Levies May Trigger European Crisis

Recently EU finance ministers forced Cyprus’s governments hand with the choice of implementing inconceivable bank levies as a condition of receiving a 10 billion euro ($13 billion dollar) bailout or face national bankruptcy. The levies as planned will withdraw 6.75% of account balances under 100,000 euros and 9.9% on balances on or above that amount. To put that in perspective someone with $5000 in their bank account would lose $337.50 and someone with $200,000 in their account would lose $19,800.

This is a very real example of how governments may choose with their debt crisis, although one of the more extreme methods. Less hurtful tactics include eliminating deficit spending, increasing economic activity (which will increase tax revenue), or simply increasing taxes or creating new ones.

The photos of folks at ATMs not being able to withdraw their cash will┬ádefinitely┬ácause some panic in Europe if not around the world. I’m interested in seeing how this plays out in the next few months.

Sim City 2013 – Worst PC Game Release Ever

Sim City 2013 was hyped up for months before it’s recent release, but here it is two days after the release and most people can still not connect to a server to play a game they paid 60 – 80 bucks for. Not to mention they will be kicked out of the game if their servers go down while they are in the middle of building their city, and this game requires that EA games maintain their servers in order to play the game in the future – something they are not obligated to do in the future and will certainly mean this game will be useless as is 10 years from now. I am astonished EA games allowed such an utter piece of garbage to the market in the state it is in, either they have no idea how to stress test servers or they purposefully released a useless product hoping to make the quick buck. I’ve never taken the time to comment on a poor video game or video game publisher before but this is it – I will never buy an EA games product again.

Feds Buy Tons of Ammo

Recently I was surprised to find out that I was not able to find the smallest bullet around, the 22 LR, at the local Walmart. Turns out supplies are gone due to a huge government order for ammo specifically clearing the shelves of 22 LR and .223 (used in the AR-15).

While the Obama administration will not be able to immediately change gun laws, it seems that it is taking action through its huge government purchases of ammo which effectively keep regular folks from getting any. If you ask around, you will encounter the same situation around the country (comment below with your experience).

The Fed purchases include not only FMJ (full metal jacket) rounds but also hollow point rounds, which are forbidden for use in war based on the Hague Convention Declaration III, which also set chemical weapons use as an illegal tool of warfare.

Resources:

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/02/17/Feds-Buy-2-Billion-Rounds-Of-Ammunition

http://www.wnd.com/2013/02/feds-buying-enough-bullets-for-24-year-war/

Bakers Union Kills Hostess

Today I bought two boxes of Twinkies and one box of cup cakes. I shared one box with my co-workers and kept the other for myself. Today we witnessed a company that was formed in 1930 go into dissolution because the 3,000 member bakers union decided to play a game of chicken with a fledgling company, nailing its coffin and closing a household brand and eliminating almost 19,000 more American jobs.

Electric Car Hair Loss / Baldness

I’m writing this article in response to a rumor I heard claiming that a changing electric field causes hair loss, and such an electric field is created by electric vehicles when they accelerate and brake. Now baldness is the least of my worries when it comes to being exposed to prolonged periods of exposure to electric fields. Some people are concerned about exposure to EMF (electromagnetic field, not to be confused with electromotive force which is an electric car term) from electronics, electric wires, etc – but these same folks don’t seem to realize electric cars would generate the same harmful elements. I think this is an important topic that warrants further research as we move away from gasoline and into electric powered technology.

It’s important to find out where the current is being carried throughout the car, since this is what would generate an electric field. Most cars have much higher EMF readings near the floor, and some passengers have experienced a buzzing feeling in their feet if they are sensitive to EMF.

Of course, research takes time and money, and implementing shielding technologies may cost a pretty penny to auto manufacturers so don’t seeing any news articles about possible risks associated with driving an electric vehicle. If you have an electric vehicle and have driven it for a significant amount of time I would like to ask if you’ve experienced any of the symptoms associated with EMF exposure:

Neurological:

  • headaches,
  • dizziness,
  • nausea,
  • difficulty concentrating
  • memory loss,
  • irritability,
  • depression,
  • anxiety,
  • insomnia,
  • fatigue,
  • weakness,
  • tremors,
  • muscle spasms,
  • numbness,
  • tingling

Cardiac:

  • palpitations,
  • arrhythmias,
  • pain or pressure in the chest,
  • high blood pressure,
  • fast heart rate,
  • shortness of breath.

Skin Related:

  • skin rash,
  • itching,
  • burning

Eye Related:

  • pain or burning in the eyes,
  • pressure in/behind the eyes,
  • deteriorating vision

As for the baldness bit, I don’t think that EMF has been shown to cause baldness – in fact the reverse may be true. However it’s important to be aware of the amount of exposure you are getting from electronics in general and electric cars are among them.

There’s No Easy Answer To Syria Civil War

I don’t think it’s wise for the US to get involved in Syria, and I think it’s a bad idea to put troops on the ground to help the Syria uprising. The reason behind this is simple – we don’t know them, they aren’t our allies, and it would cost us money and lives we really shouldn’t be wasting. To be honest, I think it’s a job better left to those in the region – the Syrians themselves if they want a new government and Turkey since it has been targeted by artillery from Syrian lands. Of course, some in the US believe this to be weak – but I think its premature to believe that the rebels in Syria will automatically become our friends if we help them. In fact, there have already been articles published quoting rebels saying that since we haven’t helped them enough they may target us after the war is finished. So, in summary, these rebels may end up being our enemies – they have proven that they are not against using terrorist tactics against Assad. For example, last weekend four rebel suicide bombers killed 40 civilians in the city of Aleppo – I’m sure this is news you haven’t heard of from our friends in the media. I believe that both sides of this conflict have terrorist elements, Assad is surely someone who will eventually be ousted by rebels – the question is when and do we want to be involved in the policing role after the civil war has finished? Putting troops on the ground would probably result in a proxy war between the US and Iran, and would ultimately result in real war with Iran which would cost more than our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan combined- this war would benefit few and harm many. The benefits would come to those in the defense industry and those who have large investments with defense contractor companies, the harm would come to every town that sends troops along with everyone that uses gasoline in their cars and buys groceries at the local supermarket. The national debt would probably double and inflation would be inevitable.