Showing posts with label greece. Show all posts
Showing posts with label greece. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Neutral and Bad News: Greek Debt and Iranian Weapons

The Greek parliament voted to accept basically the same deal its people rejected with a 61% vote.  I would call this neutral and it generally favors my hypothesis that the can is going to get kicked down the road a little bit.

The Iran Nuke Deal has been announced. I confess not to understand the finer technical points but some smart people, including Weapons Man have some real concerns about it. Also Bayou Renaissance Man paints a plausible picture on how this could get very ugly.

 So all things said the international news today ranges from neutral to bad.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Greek Bail Out Update

Updated from awhile back. Looks like the initial Greek position, maybe a bluff),was called.They wanted to get back to the negotiating table right away, with even less bargaining power than before. Greece and it's European neighbors as well as the big banks have agreed on a potential deal. 

While I confess to not being super informed on the exact specifics of either deal this one seems a whole lot like the first, with cuts to pensions and significantly increasing the VAT (I believe from 14 to 23%) as well as Greece raising a fund from government property that is being sold to recapitalize banks. Also there is some nominal afterthought about funds for growth. The general concensus is this deal is harsher than the previous one the Greek people soundly rejected.

The Greek parliment will have to vote to agree on this new deal. That is sort of awkward as the last deal, which was probably better, was put up for a national vote and soundly rejected. The issue with the general Greek consensus, as much as a whole population can have such a thing is that it is at best somewhat contradictory and at worst outright mutually opposing. Greeks want to have their debts significantly written down, while ideally continuing to get subsidies to finance government and social programs the country simply cannot afford from it's neighbors and stay in the Euro. Greece wants to have their wine and Ouzo all day long but skip the hangover in the morning. Obviously this is not a realistic stance.

What will happen? I suppose it is anyone's guess. My gut is that the parliament passes the stuff necessary to get the bail out and they kick the can down the road a ways. 

Interesting times for sure.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

7.62x51 FMJ Ammo, Greece and the Chinese Stock Market

My primary bank does not have any branches around here. We have been with them for a long time and are happy with it. Still occasionally there are hassles. Needing to get cash into the digital world is one of those hassles. I usually have a relationship with a local bank. That situation was in flux. Tried to establish a relationship with a new local bank but in short order that complete disaster managed to put a mark in favor of every negative stereotype about the speed, motivation, intelligence and competence of rural Southerners. Seriously it was a complete cluster.

[Note to my Southern brethren. I do not mean to disparage you all. I understand this was probably an anomaly. I have lived in some part of the South for long enough to know that while things move at their own pace this sort of total disaster is not a normal occurrence. Still if something ridiculously stereotypical happens it is worth mentioning. If a Canadian logger wearing denim on denim and a fur hat offered me a Molson and french fries with gravy I would mention it.]

Anyway I wanted to get myself a bunch of Federal XM80 149gr FMJ sooner instead of later. Things have been getting weirder and weirder lately and I would like to have at least a start on fodder for the FN-FAL on hand. The boxer primed stuff is a bit more expensive than the surpus Hirtenberger 7.62x51 battle packs which are Berdan primed. The ability to reload the ammo (probably turning it into some sort of precision load) appeals to me. Also since there isn't any cheap .308 ammo out there anyway might as well pay a little bit more for stuff I can recycle.

The situation in Greece is continuing to unfold. American Mercenary brings up good points that 1) massive debt that cannot be paid is more of an issue for the lender than the debtor and 2) bail in's are inevitable and 3) Americans should consider how a potential future bail in one time tax could affect them.

Still it is small time compared to China.  FerFAL talked about it yesterday and so did Bayou Renaissance Man. China's stock market is swirling down the crapper big time. It is down about a third in a short period of time. According to NPR and the BBC, my main sources, most of China's investors are individuals who purchased single stocks. So this means instead of a bunch of hedge funds and index funds taking a 30% haircut a subset of normal people in the market probably lost everything.

The China situation is scary because their economy is so much bigger than Greece. When small countries have their economies go to hell they might cause some economic problems. When big countries have their economies go to hell they have a nasty tendency of getting into wars. Either they go for the little distraction war to inspire nationalism and distract the people, or they say pull a Hitler and try to TAKE OVER ZEE WORLD.

That Chinese curse 'May you live in interesting times' comes to mind. Good thing the plan is  to cut another 40,000 soldiers out of our Army.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Greece Votes No

Greece voted no in a referendum on the most recent bailout offer. It was pretty surreal because the offer expired a few days ago but that does not matter. It was a pretty solid 61 and change no 38 and change yes.

For background Greece is a giant mess. Greek debt is 178% of GDP. To make matters more complicated GDP is the whole economy and not government spending. Government spending is running about 50 some odd percent of GDP which seems like a lot (the US number last year was about 35% and Germany averages in the mid 40's). They are solidly in the IMF/ austerity death spiral. People are seriously unhappy after 5 years of a terrible economy. They recently elected a leftist government with the stated goal of easing up the austerity and getting the economy going.

What does this mean? Well it depends on who blinks first.

A likely outcome is a deal being cobbled together by some group of stake holders to kick the can down the road a few more months. The deal would not be the free and easy pay when you can that Greece wants but more likely something barely palatable to either side. I do not necessarily think that is the most likely scenario but it is certainly a distinct possibility.

On the other hand the current Greek government is extreme and or incompetent enough they might make a deal impossible. Also Europe and in particular Germany seems pretty tired of footing the bill for their lazy overspending cousins. To make matters worse the lazy overspending cousins are not even grateful.


Granted a counter argument could exist. Lets say you loan a lazy overspending cousin twice as much as he makes in a year a little at a time subsidizing his overspending and habitual layoffs, expecting to be paid back with interest. Over time you get him to promise, around the time he needs more money, to start a budget, quit drinking and gambling, put forth effort at work, show up to work on time, etc. You are really suprised that, despite his promises the basket case is still a basket case that you are at least as much to blame for the situation as the shiftless cousin. In any case however much we could argue the lender was foolish that actually does not help the argument that they should open up their wallet to pay the 3 month overdue electric bill and buy some groceries to eat till payday.

Not that it matters too much for Greeks (though for the other PIGS it matters now and arguably for the US it is something to keep your eye on) but I did a post on how I would have prepared for this and so did Alexander Wolfe of T Blog.



So what is going to happen? Peter of Formerly Bayou now Cumberland Renaissance Man did an excellent post on the ridiculousness of both sides and what may come next.

What would Ryan the Greek be doing now?

-Getting the little bit of money I had in the bank out at 60E a day.

-If we lived in Athens (or other major Greek cities, do they have other big cities?) we would be going to stay with relatives in more out of the way areas for awhile. 

-Getting as much of whatever medicines my family needed.

-Stashing as much food as we could, probably looking more to help family members and good friends with pantries on near empty. That being said we would try to close any gaps in our food storage.

-Talking with my neighbors. Setting conditions for potential security plans if needed and seeing how they were doing. Maybe try to help (Oh you are out of matches, I think we have two partial boxes. Bring a half box by the next day.) or at least help guide them to a potential solution (We are a bit worried so we are putting our 60E a day into shelf stable food like rice and pasta. We also filled up our car and the 5 gallon can we use for the lawnmower, you might want to do the same.)

So those are my thoughts on that. What do you think?

Monday, June 29, 2015

Greece Revisited

Yesterday I talked about Greece. This morning I was listening to the radio and heard that Greece shut down their banks and is having a referendum on austerity, and by default whether to stay in the Euro, on the 6th. This is bad. Granted Ryan the Greek would have acted awhile back but in general I figured there was a bit more time. Well at this point it is too late for Joey behind the power curve Greek to get his money out of the bank.

I am not saying Greek people should be putting up punji stakes in their yards and turning empty wine bottles into Molotov cocktails but it  is going to be an interesting few weeks/ months.

Now the point SD3 brought up is valid. Leaving is worth considering. This was clearly a glaring omission in my post. Can't see how I missed that obvious point but I did. That part of the discussion is complicated. I sort of talked about the pro's and con's of this awhile back. Family stuff as well as opportunity both at home and elsewhere matter a lot. A person with a deep social network who is happy where they are and doing OK, if not amazing money wise might not want to move. On the other hand a young well educated professional who is not especially tied to a specific area would be well advised to move to Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg or maybe Northern Europe.

Of course the point to physically hold precious metals and or Euro's is totally valid. That is where Ryan the Greek would be. Ryan's pantry would be stocked, his safe would be full of PM's and Euro's and his bank account would be empty. 

Where I disagree with SD3 is that I do not believe the overall level of violence in Greece is going to be particularly high. I could be wrong but I just do not see it. Some rioting seems likely in Athens at this point but if I lived in a small town or village the odds of encountering a notably different level of violence seem minimal.

At the risk of generalizing I would say Europeans, and especially southern Europeans tend to be less economically oriented (cause or result of the countries being economic basket cases I can't say) and more family/ socially oriented. Many of these people are far less likely to immigrate if they are making it, even just barely.

So that is the update on yesterdays post and the current events in Greece.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Scenario Discussion: Greece June 28 2015

When I solicited for input somebody mentioned doing scenario type posts. I thought Greece today (well more this general period not the specific day) would be a good one.

So what is the scenario. The Greece economy is a mess with high unemployment and a boat anchor of debt. It is clear in my mind Greece will never be able to pay their debts off. Whether they are written off by choice or when Greece simply does not pay is a separate discussion and not really relevant to this post.

Greece recently elected an anti austerity government. This government has the unenviable job of trying to placate their creditors/ neighbors and delivery some sort of a win to their people to get the economy moving.

This is significantly complicated because Greece is part of a common currency, the Euro. The good is that they have been able to exploit being linked to much stronger neighbors. The flip side of the coin this is bad (for the government) is they can not simply inflate the currency; lowering its value and making their goods/ services cheaper giving the country more competitive and giving it an economic boost.

Even more troubling the country is in what I call the 'IMF Death Spiral'.

My current working definition of the IMF Death Spiral is "The situation where a country is deeply in debt and continues to receive loans on the conditions that it will follow certain conditions set forth by the IMF or other national/ international organizations. The conditions of the loans typically include cutting government spending, laying off government employees, raising taxes across the board and various social policies that suit their agenda. The stated goal of these reforms is to improve the economy of the country. However at least in the short term it has exactly the opposite effect. High unemployment inevitably follows and the increase in taxation crushes what is left of the economy."

Now one could argue once countries reach the point of the IMF Death Spiral they are a lost cause anyway. On the other hand we could look at results and say the IMF intervention certainly does not help matters any. One could argue the IMF, etc all's goal in lending out huge sums to countries that cannot possibly pay it back is about extracting a profit, offloading the losses to the citizens of first world countries and having a measure of control over the debtor nations. The little I have read on the IMF was pretty eye opening.

I confess to be almost hopelessly stalled halfway through but this book is a good place to look at the business of big banking.

Anyway back to Greece.

There is a distinct possibility that Greece will A) default on it's debts by failing to make their payments. This would be bad. Another possibility is A) and B) Exit the Eurozone AKA Grexit. This would lead to Greece moving back to their own currency which would be valued on the merits of their economy AKA not worth very much.

Basics-

Of course the basic preparedness stuff of long term shelf stable food, water filtration like a good Berkey, first aid gear, alternate cooking like a Coleman stove, etc apply.

Greece gun laws are fairly European (stupid and strict) so legal modern defensive weapons are out but shotguns are allowed for hunting. A double barreled shotgun and a case of buckshot or large game type shot that is legal and stored in your home would be darn handy if/ when things go sideways. Now on the less legal side I am sure there are plenty of AK's floating in from the Balkans and Romania. If a person had the connections, could afford and didn't care about the laws a concealable pistol and a AK with a dozen mags and a couple cases of 7.62x39 ($220 for 1k of Tula 122 gr FMJ at Lucky Gunner) in some hidey hole sure would be darn nice if things went worse than expected. However I would still want that legal shotgun. It will probably be sufficient and a self defense option on the right side of the law is a good thing to have.

I would look to stock up on normal easy to cook shelf stable foods my family ate. Pasta, canned soup, rice, crackers, PB&J, etc. If/ when the Grexit happens inflation and short term shortages would almost surely follow. About 3 months of normal food your family ate and some long term emergency type food/ big buckets of bulk staples would be a good place to be.

Also the possibility of a job being lost now, and especially if/ when things get worse is higher.

Money-

I would seek to get as much of my money out of the banks as possible. Might leave enough in the bank for convenience to pay a couple small bills with a card or order a thing from amazon, etc. Max $500.

Money in banks would almost surely be converted to Drachma at the official conversion rate which is laughably unrealistic. So hypothetically Greece moves to the Drachma with an official exchange rate of 1 Euro to 2 Drachma. A Greek persons 20,000 Euro's would turn into 40,000 Drachma. The problem is things that used to cost a Euro actually cost 4 Drachma which is functionally a 50% loss in purchasing power overnight. The Greek Government would take all the Euro's it stole and use them to buy things they need or to pay enough to their creditors to get a little but of breathing room.

So Joe Greek goes to the bank and pulls out all his Euro's. What to do with this money?

The basis that we mentioned earlier come to mind. As does the shelf stable food. If those bases are not already covered I would put some money towards them. However for the sake of discussion lets say those issues were already addressed.

If I had between one Euro and 20,000 Euro's (the exchange rate right now is 1 dollar to .91 Euro so for normal people amounts we can speak of them as about the same value) I would find a good place in my home, bolt down a compact but quality safe and put my money in it.

If I had more than 20,000E I would take the first 20k and put in a good safe in my residence. This would be my money to buy food, fuel, etc in the short term if/when things go downhill. I figure for most people 20k E is at least 3-4 months cash expenses (food, fuel, etc not rent/ mortgage, eating out, cable/ internet, car insurance, health insurance, taxes, etc) to ride through a rough time. If your family/ lifestyle is such that 20k E is not sufficient for 3-4 months cash expenses adjust the amount upwards accordingly. Maybe a multi millionaire with 7 kids would need 50 or 100K to ride out a few rough months.

For money beyond that 20k/ 3-4 month cash expense level up to say 200k. I would go to a different country for a long weekend of sight seeing and visit a bank. To the best of my knowledge a country defaulting has not been able to confiscate foreign held bank accounts in different (than the defaulting countries) currencies. I would probably go to Switzerland but Cyprus, England and Luxembourg might be good candidates also. Since I have never had enough money to need to look into it I can not say specifically which countries have the strongest protections of bank accounts for in Europe. If a person could get some interest then a savings account is worth thinking about. Then again if a bank in a stable country is going to pay less than 1% and I did not foresee needing the money soon (Say I have an income and am not retired relying on this money to pay my bills.) I might just toss it in a safe deposit box in a stable country like Switzerland.

Of course if I could swing stashing a bunch of alternate passports and a handgun in that safe deposit box that would be cool. The Jason Borne safe deposit box is to safe deposit boxes what the Sara Conner connex is to caches.
A safety deposit box to envy. Only way it would have been any cooler would be some sort of an SBR like an MP-5K and a black velvet bag full of diamonds.
Don't see any food but the Sara Conner Terminator Cache has guns and ammo covered.

As to cash beyond 200k. Honestly a person with over 200k in liquid assets is not going to be looking at some yahoo on the interwebz for advice on financial stuff. At this point you talk to an accountant and a lawyer then posture your financial situation accordingly. Best do it now as big moves take time and there might not be much time left.

Debt-

-If I were Greek my biggest concern would be Euro denominated debt. If we look at different economic collapses the trend is that the government screws the people and the banks help, if just to come out OK. So it is government before banks and banks before the people. A scenario that has plaid out more than once is suddenly all accounts are in the new, less valuable currency at an artificially high exchange rate (say the official rate is 1 Euro to 3 new Drachma but the street price is 1 to 6) but euro denominated debt might still be in Euro's.

Honestly we have not seen this play out with a common currency. The best I can do for actual facts is to look at Argentina's collapse and the recent mess in Russia as their currency has gone down like a desperate aspiring actress on a casting couch with a big name producer. Loans in dollars (in Argentina) and Euro's (in Russia) were fine and dandy till the exchange rate went crazy. Put it like this. Say Joe Greek makes 90k a year and has a 3 year car loan for 30k.  Not the way my family handles money but still pretty reasonable. Lets say the Grexit happens. Now overnight Joe's $30k car loan in Euro's might functionally turn into 60 or 90k value since he is suddenly paid in Drachma which are significantly less valuable than Euro's, far beyond the official exchange rate. Joe's reasonable car is now eating up a quarter or more of his income.

-Of course interest rates in Greece would go through the roof if any of this happened. I would run, not walk, away from any variable interest debt that you did not have the resources to pay off at any time.

Contingency Plans

-If I lived in Athens, and in particular it's downtown/ historic and or financial districts, I would find a friend or family member who lived elsewhere to stay with for a few days if things got weird. I would look to position some food, clothes, etc there. You probably would not need to leave forever but a place to lay low for a couple weeks could come in handy.

For the sake of full disclosure I have lived in Europe but never been in Greece, somewhat ironically because they started having all the money problems and riots. My general sense is that things could get pretty ugly in Athens but a person who lives in a medium sized town or little village is unlikely to have any contact with riots and such. I believe the general security situation would deteriorate if things went downhill but mostly the bad stuff would play out in larger cities. A village of 300 or town of 3,000 is going to fair better than a big city, let alone an urban center.

-I would look hard at what my financial situation would be after a significant loss in purchasing power, say two semi arbitrary numbers 30% and 50% respectively.  Could I pay my bills? Would it be prudent to sell the fancy car (with a loan to match) and downsize to a more modest but decent paid off car now, before other people are trying to do the same thing?

-What is my plan if I (or we in a dual income household) lose my job in an environment where there is very high (say over 30%) unemployment and many well qualified people are out of work? Do I have an in demand or easy to get into (family business, etc) back up gig? Maybe you are in sales but were the best bartender in town and still have a bunch of contacts that would give you a job tomorrow? Sure welding in one's parents or Uncle's shop is not what a mechanical engineer wants to do but if it pays the bills till a better job can be found it is what people do. A union plumber probably does not want to fix clogged toilets for $100 but that is a constantly in demand job. Point made.

-Presuming Joe Greek, like most people including yours truly, does not own his residence free and clear. Since t is very realistic that he could be unemployed for a long time Joe should be working hard on a back up plan. Say Joe loses his job and is unemployed for a year (not unrealistic, Greek youth [which might be a pretty wide group I can not recall actual ages to go with the stats.] unemployment is about 50%.) and thus are not going to be able to pay the mortgage/ rent. If Joe has some money a modest little cottage or just a piece of land would be great. Depending on where Joe is located camping after the collapse might be an option. However a much better option would be to stay with your parents or relatives in their paid off modest, avoiding high property taxes, home.

For this problem let us look at  a variety of options for different  financial situations:

'I have resources'-A little cottage on the coast in a small village/ town with enough room to put in a garden and host  a few relatives or friends  would be awesome. You could enjoy it for vacations during good times and be ready if bad times come.

'I have some money'- A piece of land that is paid for free and clear where you could put a travel trailer or at least set up some sort of decent camp would not be a bad setup at all. Things would be kind of rough but at least you could pre position supplies and nobody could hassle you for living there on your own land.

'I can scrap up a few bucks' - A travel trailer you could park at a relatives or move from place to place as needed. Living at a relatives is going to be a lot more palatable for everybody if you all have a self contained space to live, or at least sleep in.

'Resources are very limited'- A good 3 season tent with a tarp big enough to cover it, a Coleman stove, some sleeping bags and good sleeping pads. Maybe you can live or at least camp at a relative or friends place.

'Broke as a joke'- A cheap tent and a tarp.

 I feel the need to reiterate these are worst case back up plans. Obviously Joe Greek, and more importantly the Mrs Hellena Greek, would prefer to stay in their normal residence but having a plan in case that is not an option is prudent.

Well I hope this gives some insight on how I would handle the localized but really bad situation that might unfold in Greece.

As always I am eager to read your comments.






Wednesday, January 7, 2015

From Around The Web

Euro at 9 year low vs the dollar.  I wish it would have been 1.19 to a dollar when I was in Germany.
Deflation in Europe
The Greeks elected a leftist government that is anti austerity which could lead to them breaking the current agreement. The problem is once a country enters the IMF death spiral there really isn't a way out. Some smart people have argued that is intentional.

From Weapons Man
Some predictions for 2015
The Big Lie about Wanat (AKA why M4's aren't jamming and getting soldiers killed)
Wars to Study, to Study UW

From American Mercenary
Fake cell towers, IMSI grabbers, and how to secure communications through an unsecure medium

From Max Velocity
Max Velocity Riflemen training plan
1978 Nuclear Holocaust: March or Die 40 miles with 40 pounds in 24 hours is a darn good goal yet, for a healthy adult who is willing to do an extensive and deliberate train up, a reasonable goal.

From Sheriff Jim Winson
If You Can Shoot AKA why the gun famed border patrolman, shooter and writer would bury for bad times is an S&W Model 19 with a box of shells.
 
Also

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ruminating Thoughts On The Coming Year

The Sun will continue to rise and set. Basically I expect a slightly worse version of this year.

Taxes- Taxes will go up. Part of this will be strait forward rate increases but most of it will be increases in 'fees', eliminations of various loopholes and such. The bottom line is that more money will flow from your pocket to multiple levels of government.

The Economy- I am not sure about our economy. My initial thought is that the lost decade our current jobless, non housing inflation and cheap money fueled recovery will continue. In this regard I expect a bit worse version of 2012. Then again who knows.

The European Sovereign Debt issue could well reemerge. With China's unsustainable growth rates turning to inflation and the economy slowing the US may well be one of the better looking horses in the glue factory this coming year.

I suspect artificial manipulation of gold and silver prices to continue. Silver will probably continue to be a pretty good buy over the coming year. Once our food storage goals are met we will put away some more PM's for sure.

Inflation- Hidden inflation will continue. The current CPI calculation seems manipulated to suit political aims inaccurate on how inflation affects normal folks. Most of this inflation will be covered up by smaller packages, less food by weight and the usual tricks. Expect your income to purchase fewer goods and services than before. 

Gun Control- I think that gun control could go many ways.  Were I forced to take a guess something will probably happen next year. The Dem's will do something, potentially via executive order if needed, to get a symbolic victory. It could be as benign as mandatory reporting of certain behaviors by medical professionals and maybe import limitations on certain guns like Siaga 12 shotguns and AK's or could be worse.

Crime- It ain't gonna get better. The flat lined economy will push some marginal folks towards crime. Also as state and county agencies try to make budgets work they are going to continue or increase prisoner releases. Yes these folks will generally have been arrested for nonviolent offenses but that is just what they were caught for. Plenty of violent criminals are incarcerated for various minor offenses and some of them will inevitably be released.

Down here in the South West I think the Reconquista downward spiral of drug/ cartel violence and unchecked illegal immigration will continue.

I wish that it wasn't my opinion that the partisan nature of politics in the US will get worse. Identity politics and hate mongering to suit various agendas will continue. There is potential for short flashes of localized violence being orchestrated to suit specific purposes. Think twitter flash mobs against political opponents.

Afghanistan- It isn't going to get better. The writing is on the wall that we are leaving. Expect limited conflict to support political goals. Think 'Nam in about 1971.

Wellthose are, for whatever they are worth, my thoughts on what is coming in 2013. Hopefully they give you something to think about. Again in closing I expect it to be a lot like last year but a bit worse.  Good luck,

What are your thoughts on the coming year?

Ryan




Thursday, May 24, 2012

Life is What Happens When You Turn The News Off

I seem to go into a sort of cycle with the news. Right now I am about sick of it. I still check out the drudge daily and if things get boring cruise the BBC. Instead of listening to the news at work I have been using a comedy show as background. I keep up enough to have a clue what is going on but really am having a hard time pretending to care.

The issues of police abuses has been weighing pretty heavily on my mind lately. Over a short time (since my being able to pay attention to these things at a relatively adult level) the changes which have occured are widespread and universally negative. Right now I do not have any additional thoughts on this topic which I am willing to share in a public venue.

Gang/ Mob attacks seem to be on the rise. The perpetrators, victims and area demographics seem to be quite consistent. The only thing that concerns me more than this is the total ambivalence of law enforcement about these crimes. The widespread efforts of government and media to conceal these events does not weigh positively into the mix either. I am not personally concerned about this. I do not frequent the kind of areas where this sort of thing has been happening. Also my life patterns, like being home at 7 to put the kid to bed, drops the odds even further. In any case it is still troubling.

Greece getting out of the Euro may almost be a foregone conclusion at this point. The idea of Euro bonds is laughable. Like cosigning for a loan your deadbeat brother in law/ whatever to get a loan it would require Germany be on the hook for things in the end. Like cosigning in general it is just a terrible idea. Banks or private markets are far better judges of who is a worthwhile risk than friends and family. I get what is in it for everybody but Germany, who actually has their financial house in order.

Also to complicate things there is significant risk to the Euro itself. As Tam put it "So Greece's profligate habits are threatening to drag the Euro under. Germany, the only wino at the bar keeping a squinty eye on the tab, is urging some restraint on Greece's part, which makes the Jerries the no-fun bad guy of the story."

The biggest way this inconveniences me is that it means I am not going to Greece which sucks. It was definitely on our short list before the mess of the last few months. Now the risk of getting stuck somewhere with a toddler in tow makes it a no travel zone for us. I guess it is a significant global risk, blah blah blah but I don't care about that.

So what did I do today?

After getting off work I came home for some quiet family time. For no clear reason I decided to make home made pizza. I had never done this but with some help from Wifey utter disaster was averted. I learned to do something new and we had a pretty good dinner. It was a nice quiet evening and I got something out of it.

It is worth noting that Dave Duffy wrote an article that inspired this one but was much better.

Anyway I hope you all have a nice quiet evening.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Randomness

Well it seems President Obama's view has evolved to where he now supports Gay marriage. My thoughts on that issue are on the record and I am pretty much ambivalent about this new development. I suspect it is about firming up his base and making Romney look like an evil hate monger.

If you have been waiting to buy PM's at a dip it might be time to pull the trigger.

In case you were wondering 2 year old girl scout cookies taste just fine.

If you are short on doom and gloom there is an outbreak of whooping cough in Washington State. In case you needed any more reason to vaccinate yourself and your children.

JP Morgan lost a couple billion dollars in the last few weeks.

Greek leftists want to stay in the Euro but avoid any sort of austerity.

France's economy isn't doing so well.

I have been enjoying the show Person of Interest lately. It is a bit big brothery and will make you want to delete all social networking stuff then smash your laptop and cell phone but those may not be thoughts worth fighting anyway. There is always action and the good guys win which makes for an enjoyable show.

Dewars Scotch whisky has found a place in our liquor cabinet.  It is smooth and affordable enough to drink whenever the mood strikes me.  It isn't going to be mistaken for a nice single malt but at half the price that would not be a reasonable expectation. One of the downsides of scotch is that a decent blend is the price of a bottle of Crown Royal or a good burbon.

Have a good weekend,

Ryan

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday Randomness

So France elected a Socialist president. I am pretty ambivalent about this as I do not live there or have any meaningful ties to the place. This could be interesting because it would push back against Germany's austerity measures when it comes to their broke, dysfunctional and still running a deficit southern neighbor Greece as well as not far behind Portugal and Spain. Right now Germany is the only one that can really try to bankroll continued enabling temporary aid. As their smaller, poorer, weaker and generally far less masculine next largest European partner France has really helped this be a united front instead of mean old Germany. This could be fun to watch.

The thing that lots of folks don't seem to get is for governments spending  and income as measured by taxes or growth as measured by GDP are related. Spending affects the economy through jobs, buying things, etc. Increasing revenues via taxes can also hurt the economy. The typical IMF style austerity plan is really a downward spiral. Imagine a company deciding to save by cutting out the advertising that brings in customers or in a more extreme case a dairy farmer cutting expenses by feeding his cows less. Obviously not a good plan. I don't know the answer is. You can tell the debtors to shove it (if you owe the bank 10k they own you but if you owe them 10 billion then you own them) which Greece is not big enough to do; or to not get into the situation in the first place.

Mexico is still a mess. Their government can't or won't stop the cartels from acting with total impunity and doing things like hanging a bunch of bodies from bridges or decapitating people. If there is anything good in the future there I am not aware of it and in fact the place seems to be in a downward spiral. I would not be suprised if I get a paid vacation there at some point in the next few years.
Metals are down a bit but I am not sure it is buying time. I feel a dip coming.

I have been trimming up some lately. I switched to light beer and have been paying more attention to what I eat as well as to portion sized. It seems to be working. Nothing huge really but I didn't need a massive course correction anyway. Hopefully in the next few days I finally kick this bug and can get back to doing some good PT. Don't worry I am still lifting heavy things in order to continue to be awesome. I don't believe in big changes in routines (powerlift for 3 months to "bulk" then do cardio and bodyweight to "tone" or whatever) but running, rucking and biking or whatever more during the spring and summer then hitting the gym a bit more in the winter when it is nasty outside seems like a pretty natural rhythm.
Anyway I hope you all have a decent Monday. Mine was pretty chill and I got to hit the gym so I will call it a win.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

It was a good week for preparedness here. We got some flips snap diapers and inserts at a great deal in preparation for having a second kid (at some point in the future). Also I picked up a pair of backpacks at a great price and a 3 piece ECWS sleep system. I tried to purchase one of these sleep systems awhile back but there was some issue with the order and it was never processed. Also we got a 5 piece 18 volt Ryobi power tool set gently used for $80. It has a drill, a circular saw, and a sawzall as well as a flashlight and a little vacuum. Also I stumbled through our house finding half empty packs of batteries organized the batteries. An inventory found a couple deficiencies which got filled.

Wifey mentioned that it would be good if I didn't buy anything for awhile. As we don't want our balance sheets to look like Southern Europe I agreed.

Along other fronts I kicked the running program into gear going three times and also hit the gym. Wifey started making bread again which kiddo and I have appreciated. Anyway that is what we have been up to.

What did you do to prepare this week?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Greek Debt Downgraded to Junk

Read about it. I have heard this called the year of sovereign risk. Will next be the year of sovereign default?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Future Is Not Set

Dollar to regain parity with Euro, if it still exists.

Belgians vote on future, united country in doubt. 

We need to not fall into a pre WWI mindset that history is set and all that can change is minor details. Seriously if you take a look at any period of (just to toss out a number) say 50 years in history some crazy stuff happens. The future is not set and things will change. Currencies will fail and borders will change and countries come and go all together. There will be conflicts.

I think that most notably sooner than later European nations and in particular Germany (man they really aren't happy about this Greek bailout madness and the Euro tanking) are going to collectively forget about the massive horrors and almost two entire generations of young men lost in WWI and WWII and give up on their whole recent pacifism kick. They may come to question the status quo in the tried and true fashion of war.

Just like the last 50 years (or any recent start point you choose) it is going to be a wild ride. Buckle up tight.

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Little Bit of Life

We were real busy today. Definitely the busiest non traveling weekend day in awhile. We got a whole bunch of super cheap used baby stuff. Everything is major brand (same stuff we would have gotten anyway) and in very good condition. We seem to be paying between 10 and 15 cents on the dollar. Of course we could buy the stuff new without it being an issue. That is because unlike so many young people these days we waited till a decent financial place to have a kid. However (except for safety stuff) I see no reason to shun perfectly good used stuff. As soon as Walked Texas Ranger slobbers, pees and barfs on a given item it is used so why not save the devaluation. Reality is that quite often people who can afford to not worry so much about the cost of stuff (because they make choices to earn a good living and spend below it) do worry about it and make intentional plans to put themselves in the best position possible.

We also got a great deal on a chest freezer. It might be a sign of adulthood but I am so excited about more freezer space. Now we can store more meat and other low frequency stuff (popsicles, breakfast sausage, hamburger and hot dog buns, etc) which will be super nice. Also instead of picking up 1 extra when there is a good deal we can now pick up 5. This will let us save even more money and keep more food around.

Wifey decreed that we are moving things around in our residence. It falls inside her area of responsibility so my only real function will be physically moving stuff to its new locations. On the plus side she decided that we need more shelving, like big industrial type metal shelves for the kitchen. First we can just use more space for food storage in the kitchen and second we need to improve the ability to organize and easily access food. It is generally easy to find the canned stuff you use often and thus keep around in quantity. Spaghetti sauce, rotel tomatoes, baked beans, tomato soup and such are easy to find. Laying your hands on that one can of a thing you hardly ever use but really want to make a recipe at 8 in the evening is a bit harder if it is buried in a cabinet. I've been thinking when we get more shelves having a dedicated random area will be good.

Tonight we got Chinese food which was very tasty.

The Euro tanking is nice. Well it is nice for me anyway as I'm paid in dollars. It is fair to say that the shift is more a realization of the Euro's weakness than the dollars strength reemerging. I don't know what will happen with Greece or Spain or the Euro Zone at large but it sure makes for interesting reading.

I haven't been on the world band in awhile. Will probably fire it up tomorrow night. That is all for now.

Take care of each other.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Euro, Europe and Common Currencies

It turns out that my prediction of the dollar going up and the Euro zone feeling some pain is developing live on the BBC. Greece is in a bad spot. They have massive debt and high expenses coupled with a low income. They spend too much, earn too little and have maxed their HELIC, the Visa and the Mastercard. This is of course bad. It is in some ways worse for them because they are part of the EU and thus have a currency they do not control. They can not inflate their way out of this mess (if that every works anyway) or play with interest rates. Their political and welfare classes are unwilling to make the changes necessary to address their massive deficit. The risk of them facing hyperinflation is very small but they might well default.

Interestingly enough Portugal, Spain and Ireland might not be that far behind. This might make the stronger countries like France and Germany think twice about the cart their have their horses tied to. The concept of a broader currency being more stable only works if the countries are stable themselves.

I would not be surprised if the dollar bounces back a decent amount over the coming months. I doubt it will get back to a 1 to 1 exchange but moving into the .80 range would not surprise me. That would be pretty cool for me as our travel and entertainment dollars would stretch further.

As I mentioned before, I do not think the dollar is going to get stronger because its fundamentals are improving. I think it is going to get stronger because it is becoming more and more clear that the fundamentals of other currencies aren't so awesome either.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Maybe It Is Premature To Bet On The Euro

Greece is bankrupt. The regional currency they are a part of doesn't leave much room for economic maneuvering. Also their high level of socialist spending doesn't help matters any. To me this brings up a couple of interesting points. First the Euro is fairly new and relatively untested in times of economic turmoil. Secondly being part of a broad regional currency takes a lot of the traditional tools to fix economic problems away from a country.

Right now the dollar is back up to about .68 Euro. As the true problems of the Euro zone (they got into all the same stupid stuff the US did, just later and to a smaller degree) come to light over the next year it would not surprise me if it slips up into the .75-.80 range. 
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