‘Why is Warren Buffett so rich? (Crony capitalism, anyone?)’

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Interesting article. It is very true that the Oracle of Omaha has benefited handsomely from sweetheart deals and political connections over the years. He has played the crony game very well.

I will say though, as much as I agree with the general sentiment of the author, I’d still go long on the USA before Kazakhstan. We do still enjoy the reserve currency of the world. As long as we do the bet is still to the upside for US equities generally. Reserve currency status is the linchpin. If you ever hear that the US dollar is no longer the reserve currency it is time to sell. Of course when we hear it it will be too late.

An aside. – My first real job was working for GEICO (One of Warren Buffett’s companies. His “cash cow” as he calls it.) selling insurance over the phone. To this day – “Thank you for calling GEICO Direct. This is Nick Sorrentino speaking. How can I help you?” – rolls right off the tongue.

(From Nomad Capitalist)

…allow us to examine just how Warren Buffett became so wealthy, because while he is obviously an astute investor responsible for generating huge returns, he has also enjoyed advantages few other Americans do.

It is such advantages, propped up by his cronies in government, that perhaps contribute to so much of his optimism.

To begin with, much of Berkshire Hathaway’s holdings are in the equities markets. While Buffett has done an excellent job over the years of picking winners and losers, he has no doubt benefitted from the amazing impact that inflation – and recently endless money printing – have had on the American stock markets.

Click here for the article.

“Green” energy billionaire Tom Steyer actually built much of his fortune with coal companies?

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This is a pretty damning article. The fellow who poured money into the Virginia gubernatorial race and helped crony capitalist extraordinaire Terry McAuliffe squeeze out a win, and the guy who is doing his darnedest to stop the Keystone XL pipeline because he says it will contribute greatly to global warming, appears to have made much of his fortune in the global warmingest industry of them all, coal. His hedge fund owned or owned parts of many mines in Indonesia and Australia until very recently.  In fact, Powerline reports:

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Why are Dems so concerned about simple voter ID laws?

I think I voted cc Look, if one is going to engage in the “democratic process” – and believe it or not I think there is a great case for not voting which I won’t go into – why is it such a big deal to furnish an ID when it comes time to vote for our elected representatives? The Democrats (and as we often say the GOP has plenty of problems of its own) are freaking out all over the country over the issue of voter IDs, which just seem to be common sense to me.

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Just a great infographic: The History of Taxes in the USA

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The maximum tax rate in 1915 (before World War I and the institution of the Federal Reserve and broad income tax) was 7%. The maximum tax rate after 30 years of uncontrolled government, 2 World Wars and an emerging system of crony capitalism driven by the Fed? 94% in 1944. Insane. It just goes to show how powerful statism was during the mid-20th Century. In many ways, a very dark time for the world.

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Will Scalia sell out the 4th Amendment because he doesn’t know how to use email?

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Antonin Scalia has often been called an “orginalist.” Meaning he adheres closely to the word of the Constitution in his rulings. But now he seems to be saying that he doesn’t think the 4th Amendment protecting those within the US from “unreasonable search and seizure” extends into cyberspace – the place where most of us spend large amounts of our time and do our business. If the files on our computers, our virtual papers and effects aren’t protected from government sponsored fishing expeditions, what is the point of even having the 4th Amendment? Getting a warrant from a judge doesn’t seem like an unreasonable burden to me in a country which is supposed to be “free.”

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Who Is Thomas Piketty And Why Has The Obama White House Rolled Out The Red Carpet For Him?

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He has not only been feted recently by White House advisors. He is all the rage at the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Monetary Fund, and the United Nations as well.

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Military-style units from government agencies are wreaking havoc on non-violent citizens.

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Our police forces have become dangerously militarized. We need cops, not soldiers on the streets of America. In fact it is pretty much against the American tradition to have what are essentially soldiers on patrol in our country. Most cities don’t need Bradley Fighting Vehicles. But they are getting them. Most cities don’t need SWAT teams, but they are expanding them.

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18 Stats That Prove That Government Dependence Has Reached Epidemic Levels

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The corporations are on welfare and so is a large portion of the US citizenry (and non-citizenry too it must be acknowledged).  Votes are bought with a program. Politicians are bought with fat feline donations. The state expands. Everyone it seems has a hand in the till. Everyone it seems has an angle. The welfare state, leviathan, is ever-present. And to challenge the monster is to challenge the way of life of many who have long ago made peace with (in some cases) or cozied up with (all too often)  the beast.

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DOE to give out $4 billion more in Solyndra-like loans

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We at ACC are big fans of “alternative energy.” We love solar power, wind power, the whole bit. In order to “live off the grid,” a personal goal – at least a cabin one day, such sources of energy are vital. I grew up with solar panels heating our hot water and they nearly always worked, even in the depths of winter. We like the idea of “clean energy.”

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