Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Drunk Drivers

Driving a motor vehicle is a challenge as you dodge all the poor drivers on our streets and highways. Many people are involved in vehicle accidents. There are accidents on our streets and highways every day. It is why we have to pay high insurance fees on our vehicles. Vehicle accidents can be minor and annoying. They can also be very serious leaving people injured either for a long time or for life. They are often deadly. Serious injuries often leave people with long periods of pain and rehabilitation. An accident involving death leaves families and friends with a lifetime of mourning.

With all this in mind, why do people drive while intoxicated. Zero tolerance is the only reasonable approach to dealing with drunk drivers. One drink is simply too many if you plan to operate a vehicle. Is it really worth risking your life and the life of others? There is no excuse worth hearing from those found guilty of driving while intoxicated. One convicted on a second offense, should lose their privilege to drive for life. The alternative is to run the risk of these drunk drivers seriously injuring others or worse, the risk of causing the death of completely innocent people. These risks also include pedestrians.

Bad drivers need to have their driving privileges removed based on their driving record. Drunk drivers should have their privileges removed more quickly and for longer periods. There may be some hope of rehabilitating a bad driver, little for an intoxicated driver and next to none for one addicted to substance abuse like alcohol. What reason is there for us to feel sorry for someone facing driving while intoxicated charges before the courts?

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

City States - Vatican City

Vatican City

THE WEALTH OF THE VATICAN CITY In American currency, today’s bankers estimate the consolidated wealth of the Vatican (The Holy See) is between 10 to 15 billion dollars! Of this wealth, Italian stockholdings alone run to $1.6 billion, 15% of the value of listed shares on the Italian market. The Vatican has big investments in banking, insurance, chemicals, steel, construction and real estate. Earnings produced from tax-free incomes provide dividends which pay for the Vatican City expenses. I refer to the book entitled THE VATICAN BILLIONS by Avro Manhattan. I want to bring to your attention the fact that this information was published 10 years ago, and the figures will undoubtedly be even more startling today: "The Vatican has large investments with the Rothschilds of Britain, France and America, with the Hambros Bank and with the Credit Suisse in London and Zurich and elsewhere. In the United States it has large investments with the Morgan Bank, the Chase-Manhattan Bank, the First National Bank of New York, the Bankers Trust Company, and others. The Vatican has billions of shares in the most powerful international corporations such as Gulf Oil, Shell, General Motors, Bethlehem Steel, General Electric, International Business Machines, T.W.A., etc. At a conservative estimate, these amount to more than 500 million dollars in the U.S.A. alone. "In a statement published in connection with a bond prospectus, the Boston archdiocese listed its assets at Six Hundred and Thirty-five Million ($635,891,004), which is 9.9 times its liabilities. This leaves a net worth of Five Hundred and Seventy-one million dollars ($571,704,953). It is not difficult to discover the truly astonishing wealth of the church, once we add the riches of the twenty-eight archdioceses and 122 dioceses of the U.S.A., some of which are even wealthier than that of Boston. "Some idea of the real estate and other forms of wealth controlled by the Catholic church may be gathered by the remark of a member of the New York Catholic Conference, namely 'that his church probably ranks second only to the United States Government in total annual purchase.' Another statement, made by a nationally syndicated Catholic priest, perhaps is even more telling. 'The Catholic Church,' he said, 'must be the biggest corporation in the United States. We have a branch office in every neighbourhood. Our assets and real estate holdings must exceed those of Standard Oil, A.T.&T., and U.S. Steel combined. And our roster of dues-paying members must be second only to the tax rolls of the United States Government.' "The Catholic Church, once all her assets have been put together, is the most formidable stockbroker in the world. The Vatican, independently of each successive pope, has been increasingly oriented towards the U.S. The Wall Street Journal said that the Vatican's financial deals in the U.S. alone were so big that very often it sold or bought gold in lots of a million or more dollars at one time. "The Vatican's treasure of solid gold has been estimated by the United Nations World Magazine to amount to several billion dollars. A large bulk of this is stored in gold ingots with the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, while banks in England and Switzerland hold the rest. But this is just a small portion of the wealth of the Vatican, which in the U.S. alone, is greater than that of the five wealthiest giant corporations of the country. When to that is added all the real estate, property, stocks and shares abroad, then the staggering accumulation of the wealth of the Catholic church becomes so formidable as to defy any rational assessment. "The Catholic Church is the biggest financial power, wealth accumulator and property owner in existence. She is a greater possessor of material riches than any other single institution, corporation, bank, giant trust, government or state of the whole globe. The pope, as the visible ruler of this immense amassment of wealth, is consequently the richest individual of the twentieth century. No one can realistically assess how much he is worth in terms of billions of dollars." Read more...

Friday, December 02, 2011

Saskatchewan Legislative Assemby

The First Session of The Twenty-Seventh Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan is set for Monday, December 5, 2011.  This is when our provincial politicians will attempt to work together on the legislative agenda set by the government.  The "together" may be difficult.

There is already some competition within the SaskParty to see who will be elected as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.  The current speaker, Don Toth seemed to be doing quite well.  He is apparently now being challenged for that position from within his own party.  Is the SaskParty is looking for someone who will favour them in rulings?  Or is someone not likely to be in Cabinet looking for a higher pay cheque?  Either way, the conflicts and division among our elected officials has already started before the opening of the Legislature.  Is anyone surprised?

Investment Advice

Investors always advise you to invest for the long term. Is that good advice? Some problems are not likely to go away anytime soon because of worldwide government debt that is on the rise. As long as we have unmanageable government debt, we will have long-term problems with the markets.

In Canada, annual health-care costs have more than double since 2005. They went from $140 billion to near $200 billion in that time. $25 billion comes from the federal government’s transfer of funds to the provinces. Additionally, the federal government spent well over $10 billion to fight a ten-year war in Afghanistan.

The Harper conservative government cannot stop spending money and has a growing national debt crisis they do not know how to stop. If they did then they would not have contracted a private company costing them millions more in expenditures to tell them how to stop spending and adding to the national debt. That tells you how smart our elected officials are, including their administrative officials.

The left liberals interestingly have a better record managing government debt than do the right leaning conservatives who moved to the middle. Various media reports have detailed this many times. The history of Canada’s national debt is a matter of public record.

It seems controlling government spending is the best way to stabilize the markets. Otherwise, the debt in Greece, Italy or any other country in Europe would not affect the markets. The debt in Europe, US, and Canada are all a problem and will be for the long term. Where does that leave investing for the long term?

Where was the Canadian dividend fund before 911 and where is it today? That would be the best indicator of where long-term investing will get you.