Wednesday, April 4, 2007

I am Bart Simpson!

You Are Bart Simpson

Very misunderstood, most people just dismiss you as "trouble."

Little do they know that you're wise and well accomplished beyond your years.

You will be remembered for: starring in your own TV show and saving the town from a comet

Your life philosophy: "I don't know why I did it, I don't know why I enjoyed it, and I don't know why I'll do it again!"

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Gettin F#ckin Blown Up Man!

The lyrics from Iraq speak volumes about the reality of what war is. I am posting the lyrics from 4th25 based in Iraq and their main title track, "Live from Iraq."

In case you don't know what I am talking about I'll quote from their site...

Before LIVE FROM IRAQ, there was only the dream of making music. All we had was a COMPAQ computer with a SOUND BLASTER AUDIGY card, a $100 mic, and a burnt copy of ACID PRO. Every Friday, a bunch of us would pile into my barracks room, drink, write, and record whatever it was that came to mind. It was one of these Friday nights that SGT. ALVIN GREEN, in response to probably the hottest cut we ever dropped back then said, "this is the 4th quarter right here... the game's about to be over... This joint is they 2 minute warning". Little did we know what those words "4th Quarter" would inspire.

It was our deployment that truely defined the term 4th Quarter. No more was it just the words Alvin Green spoke one Friday night... It was the mentality we embraced. The 4th Quarter in the game of our lives. This is where we had to play thru our injuries both mental and physical, because losing was not an option. There were no timeouts or instant replays... no penalties or flags on the play... and no home field advantage. This was whether or not we ever stepped foot on the field to play again, and the most humbling moment of our lives. There, there is no such thing as overtime, or a tie. You either win or you lose. And, we were down 1, faced with a decision to which there was only one answer. Go for two. Because, anything less was to have given up without ever having tried to win. And winning there was the difference between life and death.That same mentality inspires our music. 4th25 music. Consider this your 2 minute warning!!!- 4th25

I have been jammin these guys for almost a year, since they got the CD out! It's powerful and it's amazing what these guys did to relieve the pain - it seethes with the pain of war. I've never heard anything like it and below you'll find the underserved lyrics from which the passion emanates. Find a copy and play the hell out of it. It makes your heart hurt when you realize these guys' lives are being wasted....


Every days like a gamble here
This is no joke
This is live from Iraq
Where were prayin’ we make it home

True gutter for you fuckers
Think its gutter where you from
Here its life by the second
This is everything wrong
This is not your beef on the block
No its not that simple
Here its more than gunfire
They shootin rockets and missiles
This is up armor kits
And bulletproof windows
We sleep with body armor blankets
And Kevlar pillows
In a country
Where when anybody’s talking they lyin
And wherever there is a soldier
There is shrapnel flyin
59 of us April 4th
8 of us dyin
This is your thug turnt punk
This is grown men crying
This is bombs in the street
Blowin up when I drive buy em’
Or its rpg?s launched at me
This is nothing problems
The true definition of goin hard
No games
This is hundreds of bodies
In the streets when we bang
Cause this is live from Iraq
Home of too many soldiers graves
Where for our country
We gamble with our lives everyday
And there are no blue skies here
Every color's gray
This is the blood of soldiers of which the streets are now paved
And there is no reimbursement for the price that we pay
While yall home sleep were here constantly getting weighed
And every convoy that rides out
Constantly getting sprayed
But we don't fold hands
The cards we are dealt get played
This is...
Nights wit no supper man
Home ain’t promised man
Long journeys qualified
Hell from a promise land
Dreams feel real but not as real
As tomorrow man
Wish life was like contra
Than life then I could borrow man
No instant replays
No highlights any days
When balls get dropped
You cant challenge the play
This is the wrath of equipment
No refs to stop the clippin
This no timeouts cause father time
Is still ticken, this is yeah
Future in the air
Pain sculpted in stone
Families sheddin tears
Cause they sons aint comin home
This is more than a gamble
And I'll give you the truth
Plenty of lives lost
Over a scandal
Turning more than a cheek
Warm hearts turn cold
Higher people in command
Planning wit no type of goals
This is your own exposed
Media cast and the scoop
Covered over the answers
Cause you cant handle the truth
Cause this is live from Iraq
Home of too many soldiers graves
Where for our country
We gamble with our lives everyday
And there are no blue skies here
Every color's gray
This is the blood of soldiers of which the streets are now paved
And there is no reimbursement for the price that we pay
While yall home sleep were here constantly getting weighed
And every convoy that rides out Constantly getting sprayed
But we don't fold hands
The cards we are dealt get played
For some this is the answer
To a whole lot of issues
Sure its politics back home
Here its bullets thru our tissue
This is trying to draw contact
Hopin' they miss you
This is one mortar round from
Bein over; no continues
This is nothing yall been thru
Yall aint seen shit
And this is not whats on the news
What really happens aint printed
This is your one mistake
Bein everbody elses business
Whether they see their family
Or its funeral home visits
This is 150 degrees
3 months out of the fiscal
250 G's when that I.E.D hits you
This is 60 miles an hour through ambush zones
This is dead animals with explosive devices on em'
This is the home of direct fire
Where everybody's a target
When you find out some people ain’t hard
They just talk shit
Definitely nothing pretty
This is no picnic
This is trying to hold fire
Without burnin your fingers
Cause this is live from Iraq
Home of too many soldiers graves
Where for our country
We gamble with our lives everyday
And there are no blue skies here
Every colors gray
This is the blood of soldiers of which the streets are now paved
And there is no reimbursement for the price that we pay
While yall home sleep were here constantly getting weighed
And every convoy that rides out
Constantly getting sprayed
But we don't fold hands
The cards we are dealt get played

Monday, March 5, 2007

Riding the Curve Down

Over the last few days many conditions within the economic system has begun to show the signs of stress. The economic engine that has served as the mirage and carrot for the underclasses is cracking and parts of this engine will seize up. More specifically, the sub prime home lenders are imploding and can can be accessed The housing market so many in the MSM have defended, is crumbling under the weight of highly risky bets made on the ability of poor paying consumers to keep paying. In spite of all these market gyrations, the more important problem has reared it's head, and this time with some hard numbers.

For those of you who don't understand or have never heard of peak oil, it's a simple concept to grasp, but before I enlighten you, you've got to own up to some behavioral issues we all face as humans. Our minds are not prepared to deal with catastrophic news, instead our brain finds short cuts that can provide an emotional comfort to sooth the pain that real facts present. In other words, people don't want to hear that bad shit, we just want to hear the good stuff. Like I've said before, we keep drinking the kool aid, the flavors change and no one seems to notice. I've warned you.....

Peak oil is the end of the modern suburban lifestyle as we know it. Now as bad as that shit sounds, there's comfort all over the place - in pockets anyway. I'm going to skip over the details in an effort to make my larger point about the NEW information as of March 2, 2007. For a complete run down of what peak oil entails check out What follows is simply some bullet points to help those who don't understand peak oil to catch up.

Let's agree on a few points and you'll soon understand the problem we, as humans, are choosing to ignore. Oil is finite, there is only so much that was endowed to this planet, the point here is there will be an end to the production of oil at sometime. Next, extracting oil follows a bell curve similar to a Gaussian Distribution, but a bit different. In the beginning, the easiest oil, the stuff bubbling at the surface - is tapped first. Then we move on to harder to reach spots and then on to flat out dangerous regions of the planet. M King Hubbert, in 1956, predicted a peak in US production. When? 1970....14 years in the future. Was he wrong? Yes, but by one year and that's debatable.

Imagine the surprise of all those in Texas that despite massive increases to the well counts, peak oil production had passed and nothing could stop the decline in production of oil. Instead, the next place to find oil, was going farther into the ocean, namely the Gulf Of Mexico. People, the fact that the easy oil is gone, serves as validation in the eventually complete decline in oil production worldwide. The fact that we needed to go into the GOM to find and extract more oil, serves as the very basis for the need to PLAN for peak oil on a world wide scale. We have been strictly discussing historic facts during the peak in US production.

To further prove the point, we have to locate the oil to pump first and foremost. Oh shit, discovery of oil peaked in the late 60's.

We are consuming more oil per day than we find. Can you imagine eating more corn today than we've harvested and continuing to do so for YEARS? Eventually we would go to get more corn and it's all gone. That's basically what's going to happen to our oil reserves. Now I know, right now you're reasoning your way out of this. Stop letting your brain trick you into not appreciating the raw numbers, facts if you will.

Lastly, at some point it will literally take more energy(called EROEI) to recovers the oil than it's worth when it reaches the top. Keep in mind, in this highly oil dependent, circular world - the same oil rigs pulling oil from the ground, need oil to function. At some point the value of that oil in terms of it's energy content, will be less than what it takes to get at it.

There will be catastrophic changes throughout the entire system as everyone adjusts to the new paradigm shift - oil scarcity. Our coming ages will be dominated by resource wars to secure the last remaining pools of resources. We've seen China trekking all across the Globe to secure their resources and they don't tend to mettle in the countries as the US does (how many military bases do we have again).

I know that's a lot to digest and so I'll make the real point, quick. In spite of your yearning for me to be wrong and to validate what your mind wants to tell you is false - the oil production peak is in. We're about to begin a long slide down Hubbert Curve and it's going to get nasty. Stuart Staniford over at has laid his reputation on the line in the name of calling the peak in oil production. His analysis was presented on TOD on March 2 and received an overwhelming response within TOD. His full analysis can be accessed at

The Oil Drum is reporting that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia has peaked in it's oil production. Currently the world is burning through roughly 85 million barrels per day(mbpd). When you see the MSM talking about the HUGE Jack find in the GOM a few months back, it's not that large when you realize how fast the world burns oil. The US has not even 1/5 the population on the planet, yet we use roughly 1/3 of that oil total or 26 mbpd. KSA hs the largest remaining oil field, Ghawar, and it's crashing hard. Understanding KSA is simple - they (Sunni's) are in the minority and the majority is Shia. The Sunnis sit on the oil wealth in the name of the US. We have bases in KSA and those serve the interest of the ruling elite. Can you imagine such a small group of people in charge of the cash? Oh wait, yeh I can too.

In other words, KSA can't tell us how much oil is left because to do so would cause violent social changes by the minority party who would now know without a doubt, that an end to oil hegdemoney by KSA is soon. However what little data we do get comes from IEA and it's unrealiable at best, but gives a good direction. That direction for KSA for the last 16 months has been negative. Normally we could push this off as a condition of an over supplied market and KSA is choosing to reduce output. This time, as they say, is different. There is ONE tell that provides the basis for cementing the truth that peak oil is here.

Rig counts - Oil rigs counts. Remember, the US, doubled, tripled, by the 90's, quadrupled total oil wells in the ground and what happened to production? It fell and it continues to fall to this day. KSA has been leasing every oil rig on the planet for the past 18-24 months. Yet in spite of increasing their oil wells, they are showing LESS production. If that not enough, one more point that I find compelling and that's following the money. Katrina/Rita hit in Aug 05 and in the ensuing months KSA briefly increased production followed by declines every single month. Why in the world would the largest producer in the world voluntarily choose to make less money? Why would KSA reduce consumption with higher prices to the tune of $70-80/barrel? Simple supply and demand demonstrates that at higher prices, producers produce more. Remember, Exxon and their out sized profits? Why didn't KSA enjoy that since they can produce as much as they choose?

If you've reached this, than you've probably got a knot in your stomach. It's ok, it'll go away in a few days/weeks or however long it takes for you to digest the truth that seems to be missing from the MSM bullshit. Going forward, you have to reduce your dependence on a car. I know it's not easy in this country, but simple things like moving closer to light rail will help benefit your bottom line in the long term. Where do you think the prime real estate spots will remain following oil declines - closer to the light rail that's for sure.

Friday, February 23, 2007

What the F*CK Went Wrong?

This will be my first post here at The Finance Dude and I couldn’t be more excited. No really, have you ever been so pissed off that you stop to tell yourself I'm going to do something about that? Usually, we just continue on with our lives and think about it again on the weekend when we're not "busy." I feel like I'm screaming inside myself every time I pick up a newspaper or turn on the television version of "news." I'm neither left nor right. I for one think we should overhaul the entire "democratic" system since we no longer get representation. I remember being taught (wait till we get to that) in school that we started the Revolutionary war against Great Britain’s taxation (who ironically call it the War of Insurrection) without representation. Too bad the American people don’t fight the same way today.

What happened to being represented in Congress? Oh that’s right most of you simply tuned out of the process or in my case, I’m late to the party. So now I’m forced to accept what cards I’ve been dealt and I for one want a new set, you know?! Since that’s not going to happen any time soon, I’ll settle for bitching in cyber space which ultimately is no more than talking to a brick wall, but I’m happier.

Most of us just deal with the day to day bullshit and attempt to survive. Few of us stop to think about large trends across an entire social structure or financial changes that threaten our future. For some strange reason (GOD?), I’ve got this natural motivation to understand finance and economics. I’m not gifted enough to understand it all, yet; but I’m motivated enough to read like a rabbit’s sex drive. I can’t help myself sometimes; it’s almost like I’m OCD at times. There is a problem though. I’ve discovered a rabbit hole of knowledge and it only leads to more understanding, which then leads to more disdain for our current paradigms.

To understand where I’m coming from, you’ve got to look at the method to the madness. I tend to examine something at one end or the other, micro or macro, and then drill it all the way to the other side. Basically everyone’s little contributions DO add up and they DO create change. Change can’t be stopped. If you disagree with that statement then perhaps you might enjoy leaving right now because it’s going to get worse before it gets better. This change can be good or bad, but the point is that is does do something. Time is completely independent in this unique problem. The choices that are made now wind up creating consequences generations from now. The cancerous problems that are addressed today only serve as appetizers to the ongoing buffet with no end in sight.

Science serves as the basis of information - period. It changes, adapts and finds new answers to old and new problems. Your ass that’s planted in that seat is because of Science first and foremost. At one point people believed Earth was the center of the universe and that belief remained until Science could prove that it was the Sun at the heart of the solar system. Science discovered electricity and we are limited by our ability to harness the energy and distribute it. Science has formed the bedrock, the corner stone of knowledge and it continues to marginally expand.

Science is only one part of our world we’re stuck with and another part is the history that has preceded all of us. The cumulative knowledge on this planet is impressive to say the least. It’s wide ranging and without restraint. You can learn how to kill whole towns with nuclear weapons. Have you ever stopped to understand that sad fact? Kind of fucking sucks if you ask me, but what can you do but block that out 99% of the time. Understanding history can better prepare you to cope with the future changes that will happen. Now I'm not going to say you can predict the future, but my fellow Missourian Samuel Clemens, best known as Mark Twain, said it best:
“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
Ultimately we are reliving the same bullshit over and over it’s just a different flavor of Kool Aid folks.

Lastly there is the finance that underpins the entire systems today. When I talk about history, this is the kind of thing I am attempting to point out. We are only removed from mercantilism by roughly three hundred years and capitalism has dominated for the remaining time. Economic systems are not any more permanent than Rome was prior to the “greatest civilization ever” collapsing. We feel the permanence now due to the forces that bind it together, namely today’s corporate states of America. There are far too many people that want capitalism to work, than to let it fail. I might not be here, but neither will capitalism at some point. Why do I say that? For capitalism to work, we need growth. There’s one LITTLE problem though, thermodynamics, specifically the first and second laws.

The first law roundly states that energy can not be created or destroyed only transferred. I’m simply stating this, but you can’t make or destroy energy; only use it and recycle in a closed system (Earth is a closed system, economically speaking). Second law states that entropy, or waste, increase over time to a maximum value. At some point there will be so much waste inside the capitalistic system that it seizes up. We are witnessing the greatest explosion of fiat paper money in the history of mankind! Fiat paper money is not tied to anything in reality folks, nothing real is behind the value of that piece of paper. Human beings are in charge of the ATM machine and it doesn’t have a limit at all! People are not rational, and for now I will leave it at that. How does science apply to Economics?

Simple – we are living on a planet that is not expanding in resources. There was only so much iron ore, minerals, and oil endowed upon the planet. For capitalism to function there must always be growth but it’s quite obvious there will come a point at which growing won’t be an option. Again I highly doubt I see this end, but it’s not sustainable and that’s the point. We will all witness the end of oil however, and if you have never touched on peak oil research, you should. If you don’t want to read it, don’t bitch about it not being real. There is not a single person I know who has reviewed the data and come to a different conclusion than we will face the collapse of oil production in our lifetimes. I’ll do you one better and say I think we’ve already peaked around Dec 05, but that’s anther post too. Today’s finance is mostly akin to a Ponzi scheme whereby the next sucker that comes in the door pays the last one. So long as there are more people to feed into this, the merry go round continues. Money makes the world go round and if you don’t believe that then answer me this…Who financed Hitler before/during World War II?

Until next time,
The Finance Dude
Falling down the rabbit hole…