Entries Tagged as 'Guest Post'

The steps in preparing a budget

A budget is a financial blueprint for achieving business goals. Your unit’s budget is part of the company’s overall strategy, so you need to understand the company’s strategy in order to create a useful budget. There are several steps you can take to increase your strategic understanding: The audience, not the presenter, is the heart of any presentation. To figure out what makes it tick, answer these questions:

• Pay attention to communications from senior management. Most companies try to communicate at least the basics of their strategy to the entire organization.

• Watch the overall economic picture. A company’s strategy during a recession will differ from its strategy in a booming economy. Listen to your manager’s and colleagues’ views on sales and the economy, and make your own observations as well. Are you deluged by résumés, or is good help hard to find? Are prices rising or falling?

• Stay on top of industry trends. Even when the economy is booming, some sectors may be in trouble. Your budget should reflect realities in your own industry.

• Steep yourself in company values. Every company has values, sometimes formalized and sometimes just “the way we do things around here.” Savvy managers factor those values into their decisions. Say your budget calls for layoffs. If the company views layoffs as counterproductive, your proposal will be dead on arrival.

• Conduct SWOT analyses. What are your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats? Keep them in mind as you build your budget. All these techniques should help you understand the context in which you’ll develop your budget.

Top-down versus bottom-up budgeting

In top-down budgeting, senior management sets specific goals for such items as net income, profit margins, and expenses. Each department may be told, for example, to limit expense increases to 6% above the previous year’s levels. As you prepare your budget, observe such parameters and look at the company’s overall plans for sales and marketing and for costs and expenses. Those objectives provide the framework within which you must operate. For instance, many companies strive to improve profitability every year by reducing expenses as a percentage of revenue.

In bottom-up budgeting, managers aren’t given specific targets. Instead, they put together budgets that they feel will meet the strategic needs and goals of their respective departments. These budgets are “rolled up” into an overall company budget. The company budget is then adjusted, with requests for changes sent back down to individual departments. This process can go through multiple iterations. Often it means working closely with departments that may be competing against yours for limited resources. It’s good to be as cooperative as you can during this process, but don’t hesitate to lobby aggressively for your own unit’s needs.

Getting started

Budgets should be ambitious but realistic. Don’t map out a budget that you can’t meet?—?but don’t underestimate the possibilities. Here’s how to begin. First, list three to five goals that you hope to achieve during the period for which you are budgeting.

For example:

• Increase gross sales by 5%.

• Decrease administrative costs as a percentage of revenue by 3 points.

• Reduce inventories by 2% by the end of the fiscal year.

Make sure those goals line up with the organization’s strategic priorities. Next, figure out how you’ll achieve them. (Remember that a budget is just a plan with numbers.) How can you generate more revenue? Will you need more sales representatives? Where can you cut costs or reduce inventories? The smaller the unit you’re focusing on, the more detail you need.

If you’re creating a budget for a 12- person sales office, you typically won’t have to worry about capital expenditures such as major upgrades to the building. But you should include detailed estimates for travel costs, telephones and utilities, and office supplies. As you move up in the organization, the scope of your budget will broaden.

You can assume that the head of the 12-person office has thought about printer cartridges and gasoline for the sales reps’ cars. Your job now is to look at big-picture items such as computer systems and to determine how all the smaller-scale budgets fit together. Other issues to consider when you’re preparing a budget:

• Term. Is the budget just for this year, or is it for the next five years? Most budgets apply only to the upcoming year and are reviewed every month or every quarter.

• Assumptions. At its simplest, a budget creates projections by adding assumptions to current data. Look hard at the assumptions you’re making. Let’s suppose you think sales will rise by 10% in the coming year if you add two more people to your unit.

Explain what you’re basing that assumption on, and show a clear connection to at least one strategic goal (in this case, it’s probably to increase sales by a certain percentage).

Role-playing may help you here. Put yourself in the position of a division manager with limited resources and many requests for funding: Under those circumstances, what would persuade you to grant a request for two additional staff members

TIP: TRACK YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS

As you put your budget into the required format, document your assumptions. It’s easy to lose track of them during the budgeting process, and you’ll need to explain them?—?and revise them. Don’t look only at specific revenue or cost line items, because revenue and costs are closely linked. Instead, ask yourself what the budget shows about last year’s operations. As the table shows, the Standard Upright and the Moose Antler Standard exceeded sales expectations in 2013.

Perhaps it would make sense to increase your sales projections for those products, particularly if your sales reps are optimistic about the prospects for more sales. The Standard Upright might be a particularly good choice since it beat its 2013 projection by 9%.

Could you increase the anticipated sales for this model by 5% or 10% in 2014? How much more would you have to spend on sales or marketing to achieve this increase? To make the decision, you’ll need as much data as you can get about pricing, competitors, new sales channels, and other relevant issues. Alternatively, you might plan to eliminate some products.

The Electro-Revolving model, for example, is faring poorly. Would it be better to cut

this line and promote the newer Hall/Wall model? That would eliminate $81,250 in sales, but the Electro-Revolving is expensive to produce, so discontinuation might not have much impact on the bottom line. Other questions to ask yourself:

• Will you keep prices the same, lower them, or raise them? A price increase of 3% might offset the budget’s 2013 sales shortfall, provided that it doesn’t dampen demand.

• Do you plan to enter new markets, target new customers, or use new sales strategies? How much additional revenue do you expect these efforts to bring in? How much will these initiatives cost? • Will your cost of goods change? For example, perhaps you plan to cut down on temporary help and add full-time employees in the plant. Or perhaps you hope to reduce wage costs through automation. If so, how much will it cost to automate?

• Are your suppliers likely to raise or lower prices? Are you planning to switch to lowercost suppliers? Will quality suffer as a result? If so, how much will that affect your sales?

• Do you need to enhance your product to keep your current customers? • Does your staff need further training? • Are you planning to pursue other special projects or initiatives? Articulating your answers to questions like these ensures that your assumptions won’t go unexamined.

It will help you create budget numbers that are as realistic as possible.

Calculating Return on Investment

Imagine that Amalgamated Hat Rack is considering two investment options: buying a new piece of machinery and creating a new product line.

The new machine is a plastic extruder with a price tag of $100,000. Amalgamated hopes it will save time and money over the long term, and that it will be safer than the current equipment. The second possibility, launching a line of coatracks, will require a $250,000 investment in design, production equipment, and marketing.

How will Amalgamated decide whether these options make economic sense? And if it can afford only one of them, how will it decide which to choose?

By figuring out the return on investment, or ROI. This means evaluating how much money the investment will generate compared with its cost. Before you begin any ROI analysis, it’s important to understand the costs and benefits of the status quo. You want to weigh the relative merits of each investment against the consequences, if any, of not proceeding with it.

Don’t assume that the costs of doing nothing are always high. Even if the new investment promises a significant benefit, it still carries risk. The short-term cost?—?and the short-term risk?—?of doing nothing is usually close to zero. Of course, the benefits, too, are close to zero.

Costs and benefits

ROI calculations always involve the following steps: 1. Identify all the costs of the new purchase or business opportunity. 2. Estimate the savings to be realized. 3. Estimate how much cash the proposed investment will generate. 4. Map out a time line for expected costs, savings, and cash flows, and use sensitivity analysis to challenge your assumptions. 5. Evaluate the unquantifiable costs and benefits. The first three steps are fairly straightforward in theory, though they may be complicated in practice.

When calculating the costs of an investment, you include up-front costs (the purchase price of a machine, say) and also costs to be incurred in subsequent years (maintenance and upgrades for the new machine). Savings may come from a variety of sources, such as greater throughput per hour, higher quality (and thus less rework), or a decrease in labor requirements. The cash generated typically comes from new sales. If you are calculating the ROI of a marketing campaign, for instance, you will need to estimate the campaign’s effect on the company’s revenue.

It can be tricky to create a time line for your costs, savings, and increased cash flow, so you may want to turn to your finance department for help with this. Step five is really just a check on the other four: Which costs or benefits can’t you quantify, and how will they affect your decision? For example, would a particular investment help or harm your company’s reputation in the community or with prospective employees?

Once you have completed these steps, you are ready to use one or more of the analytical tools described in this chapter: payback period, net present value, internal rate of return, break-even analysis, or sensitivity analysis. We’ll look at the strengths and weaknesses of each tool to give you a basic understanding. But you may want a colleague from the finance department to assist with the calculations.

Using the Statements to Measure Financial Health

The financial statements tell different but related stories about how well your company is doing financially:

• The income statement shows the bottom line. Using the rules of accounting, it indicates how much profit or loss a company generated over a period of time — a month, a quarter, or a year.

• The balance sheet shows whether a company is solvent. It provides a snapshot of the company’s assets, liabilities, and equity on a given day.

• The cash flow statement shows how much cash a company is generating. It also tracks, in broad terms, where that cash came from and what it is being used for. Now you’re ready to take the next step: interpreting the numbers these statements provide.

For example, is the company’s profit large or small? Is its level of debt healthy or unhealthy? You can answer such questions through ratio analysis. A financial ratio is just two numbers from the financial statements expressed in relation to each other. The ratios that follow are useful for almost any industry. But if you want to gauge your own company’s performance, the most meaningful comparison is usually with other companies in the same industry.

Profitability ratios

Profitability ratios help you evaluate a company’s profitability by expressing its profit as a percentage of something else. They include:

• Return on sales (ROS), or net income divided by revenue. (Remember that net income on the income statement just means profit.) Also known as net profit margin, ROS measures how much profit the company earns as a percentage of every sales dollar. For example, if a company makes a profit of $10 for every $100 in sales, the ROS is 10/100, or 10%.

• Return on assets (ROA), or net income divided by total assets. (You can find total assets on the balance sheet.) ROA indicates how efficiently the company is using its assets to generate profit.

• Return on equity (ROE), or net income divided by owners’ equity. ROE shows how much profit the company is generating as a percentage of the owners’ investment.

• Gross profit margin, or gross profit divided by revenue. This ratio reflects the profitability of the company’s products or services without considering overhead or other expenses.

• Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) margin, or operating profit divided by revenue. Many analysts use this indicator, also known as operating margin, to see how profitable a company’s operating activities are.

You can use these ratios to compare one company with another and to track your own company’s performance over time. A profitability ratio that is headed in the wrong direction is usually a sign of trouble.

Efficiency ratios

Efficiency ratios show you how efficiently a company is managing its assets and liabilities. They include:

• Asset turnover, or revenue divided by total assets. The higher the number, the better a company is at employing assets to generate revenue.

• Days sales outstanding, or ending accounts receivable (from the balance sheet) divided by revenue per day (annual revenue divided by 360). This ratio tells you how long (on average) it takes a company to collect what it’s owed. A company that takes 45 days to collect its receivables needs significantly more working capital than one that takes 20 days to collect.

• Days payable outstanding, or ending accounts payable divided by cost of goods sold per day. This measure tells you how many days it takes a company to pay its suppliers.

The more days it takes, the longer a company can use the cash. Of course, the desire for more cash has to be balanced against maintaining good relationships with suppliers.

• Inventory days, or average inventory divided by cost of goods sold per day. This ratio indicates how long it takes a company to sell the average amount of inventory on hand during a given period of time.

The longer it takes, the more cash the company has tied up and the greater the likelihood that the inventory will not be sold at full value. Again, it’s often helpful to compare changes in these ratios from one period to the next, and to track trends in the ratios over three years or more.

Liquidity ratios

Liquidity ratios tell you about a company’s ability to meet current financial obligations such as debt payments, payroll, and vendor payments.

They include:

• Current ratio, or total current assets divided by total current liabilities. This is a prime measure of a company’s ability to pay its bills. It’s so popular with lenders that it’s sometimes called the banker’s ratio. Generally speaking, a higher ratio indicates greater financial strength than a lower one.

• Quick ratio, or current assets minus inventory, with the result divided by current liabilities. This ratio is sometimes called the acid test. It measures a company’s ability to deal with its liabilities quickly without having to liquidate its inventory. Lenders aren’t the only stakeholders who scrutinize liquidity ratios. Suppliers, too, are likely to inspect them before offering credit terms.

Leverage ratios

Leverage ratios tell you how, and how extensively, a company relies on debt. (The word leverage in this context means using debt to finance a business or an investment.)

• Interest coverage, or earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) divided by interest expense. This measures a company’s margin of safety: It shows how many times over the company could make its interest payments from its operating profit.

• Debt to equity, or total liabilities divided by owners’ equity. This shows how much a company has borrowed compared with the money its owners have invested.

A high debt-to-equity ratio (relative to other companies in the industry) is sometimes a reason for concern; the company is said to be highly leveraged.

Nearly every company borrows money at some point in its life. Like a household with a mortgage, a company can use debt to finance investments that it otherwise couldn’t afford. The debt becomes a problem only when it’s too high to be supported.

Other ways to measure financial health

Other methods of assessing a company’s financial health include valuation, Economic Value Added (EVA), and measurements of growth and productivity. Like the ratios just discussed, these measures are most meaningful when you are comparing companies in the same industry or looking at one company’s performance over time.

Valuation usually refers to the process for determining the total value of a company. The book value is simply the owners’ equity figure on the balance sheet. But the market value of the business — what an acquirer would pay for it — may be quite different.

Publicly traded companies can measure their market value every day: They just multiply the daily stock price by the number of shares outstanding. A privately held company — or someone who is considering buying one — must estimate its market value. One method is to estimate future cash flows and then use some interest rate to determine how much that stream of cash is worth right now.

A second method is to evaluate the company’s assets — both physical assets and intangible assets such as patents or customer lists.

A third is to look at the market value of publicly traded companies that are similar to the company being evaluated. Of course, a company may be worth different amounts to different buyers. If your employer owns a unique technology, for instance, an acquirer that wants that technology for its operations may be willing to pay a premium for the business.

Valuation also refers to the process by which Wall Street investors and stock analysts determine what a publicly traded company “ought” to be selling for (in their view). That helps them decide whether the current market price of the stock is a good deal or a bad one. Analysts and investors use various gauges in this process, including:

Earnings per share (EPS), or net income divided by the number of shares outstanding. This is one of the most commonly watched indicators of a company’s financial performance. If it falls, it will most likely take the stock’s price down with it.

Price-to-earnings ratio (P/E), or the current price of a share of stock divided by the previous 12 months’ earnings per share. • Growth indicators, such as the increase in revenue, earnings, or earnings per share from one year to the next. A company that is growing will probably provide increasing returns to its shareholders over time.

Economic Value Added (EVA). A registered trademark of the consulting firm Stern, Stewart, EVA indicates a company’s profitability after a charge for the cost of capital is deducted. The calculation is quite technical.

Productivity measures. Sales per employee and net income per employee are two measures that link revenue and profit to workforce data. Trend lines in these numbers may suggest greater or lesser operating efficiency over time. Wall Street loves statistics, and these are just a few of the indicators that the professionals use. But they are among the most common.

Key Tips On How to Avoid Business Litigation

Facing business litigation can be expensive and stressful. It also can significantly impact your productivity. In fact, the potential costs including the attorney’s fees, court fees, and other related fees can be excessively higher than you expect. That’s why as business owners, part of your responsibilities is to ensure that your business is running smoothly without the possibility of getting involved in a lawsuit. Following are some Key Tips On How to Avoid Business Litigation:

Key Tips On How to Avoid Business Litigation

  1. Hire A Company Lawyer: Running your own business means regularly going over several legal considerations.
  • Getting a company attorney can help you operate your business in a legal sense. With all the legalities associated with managing a business, your attorney can advise you on what to do in certain situations.
  • For instance, if you’re dealing with business contracts, you can have these documents reviewed first by your lawyer before signing them. That way, you can be sure that your attorney is protecting your business interests at all times.
  • When you have the right lawyer for your company, you’ll also know how to handle your business in such a way that you’ll avoid litigations in the future.
  • However, looking for the appropriate attorney may not be easy. As a business owner, it’s best if you consider the attorney’s familiarity with the local customs and laws of the business you operate. Make sure to get a lawyer who has expertise in a particular field of law. Try to inquire about their years of experience in handling business litigations in the past. Doing so will help you determine the appropriateness of the attorney in your business.
  1. Maintain A Good Employer-Employee Relationship: In some cases, business litigations involve unresolved disputes regarding employers and employees.
  • Remember employees initiate most business litigations and terminated by their employers without due process. For that reason alone, there’s no doubt that your employees can bring severe problems to your business.
  • If you want to prevent litigations brought by your employees, make sure to treat them with dignity and respect. Give them what’s due for them, and they’ll surely work for you correctly.
  • Although you hire them to work for your business, managing them properly can improve your employer and employee relationship in the long run.
  • As much as possible, try to look for resources wherein you can provide staff training to your employees. The practices can be expensive, but these can also be considered as quality business investments because you’re giving your employees opportunities to enhance their skills and capabilities.
  • Training your staff well can decrease the likelihood of having problems with them in the future. When you have trustworthy employees working for your business, possible business litigation won’t likely happen.

More Key Tips On How to Avoid Business Litigation

  1. Preserve Records Of Everything: When you’re operating a business, documentation plays a vital role.
  • Take note that documents are essential to business operations, that’s why these shouldn’t be taken for granted. These records serve several purposes, and one of which is to bring these documents in court as pieces of evidence when you’re business is facing litigation.
  • In these type of situations, keeping records of everything can save your business from being sued in court. In fact, many disputes can be prevented when you’re able to present essential documents as quickly as possible.
  • That’s why you should make sure that you preserve your business records with utmost security. These materials may include business and employment contracts, correspondence and even telephone conversations and emails. If possible, take time to review your record retention policy is in place to ensure that all records about business operations are well-kept.
  1. Provide Exceptional Service: A business providing exceptional service to customers, business partners and suppliers can prevent you from facing potential business litigation.
  • When you know how to make your clients happy and satisfied at all times, you’ll unlikely find your business in litigation.
  • For instance, litigation will not occur if you actively communicate with your customers, business partners, and suppliers. Having an approachable team of customer service representatives can help your business address and resolve issues with your clients and vendors.
  • If you’re concerned about your business having a lawsuit against it, make sure that you don’t take any dispute for granted.

More Key Tips On How to Avoid Business Litigation

  1. Resolve Disputes Internally: There are instances where disputes arise within your business. It’s true; especially you have different people helping you in handling your operations. However, these circumstances can affect your business performance.
  • Disputes most likely happen when people freely express their various opinions and views on things.
  • Bear in mind that it’s important to resolve these conflicts as soon as possible within your means before they convert into a business litigation, which is a costly and time-consuming way of settling disputes.
  • In solving a dispute internally, it’s best if you conduct it in the presence of your company lawyer to ensure that you follow the legal procedures in dispute settlement.
  1. Provide Exceptional Service: A business providing exceptional service to customers, business partners and suppliers can prevent you from facing potential business litigation.
  • When you know how to make your clients happy and satisfied at all times, you’ll unlikely find your business in litigation.
  • For instance, litigation will not occur if you actively communicate with your customers, business partners, and suppliers. Having an approachable team of customer service representatives can help your business address and resolve issues with your clients and vendors.
  • If you’re concerned about your business having a lawsuit against it, make sure that you don’t take any dispute for granted.

There are several ways on how to avoid business litigation. Consider these tips, and they’ll eventually benefit your business in the long run. If you find speaking to an attorney helpful in this kind of situation, do it now. Bear in mind that your business’ continuity is assured when you’re mindful of the things you do.

Disclaimer: This content should only be used as general information about the key tips on how to avoid business litigation. It shouldn’t however, be taken as specific legal advice regarding the subject matter. If you want appropriate legal advice for your situation, seek for the services of a licensed attorney who specializes in business litigations.

Irene Wall

Irene Wall has been writing about law for more than a decade. She writes pieces on various law topics that she hopes could help the common reader with their concerns. She enjoys playing basketball with her sons during her free time

Top 5 Senior Friendly Cities in USA

Senior Friendly Cities

Senior Friendly Cities

Retirement is an inevitable phase of life; one that requires decisions to be made in advance. Senior citizens look forward to spending this time in an enjoyable yet affordable location. Senior friendly cities should not only provide citizens with high quality of life but should also not put a strain on the budget. Here is a list of top 5 senior friendly cities to live in

1.Minneapolis – Minnesota

This city is ideal for citizens that are looking for health care facilities and safe environment. The city offers an excellent transportation system with low crime rates and a stable economy that offers ample job opportunities for senior citizens.

With a wide range of music and historic entertainment forums, this city provides an extremely gratifying social life to the citizens. Moreover, it offers several spiritual places that allow citizens to offer their religious prayers in sacred places.

2.Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

With highly efficient transportation system and low crime rates, this city is suitable for citizens that are looking for security and good housing faculties. The economy of the city is also stable and study reveals that it enjoys extremely low levels of unemployment rates and offers high quality health care facilities.

The city is also known as the hub of entertainment and therefore is suitable for citizens who are looking forward at spending an enjoyable yet affordable time in the old age.

3.Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH

Senior citizens who are looking forward to re-training or gaining further education would find this city full of opportunities as it offers more than hundred education institutes. Moreover, the city has a rich cultural heritage that allows senior citizens to visit music and historic venues and theatres that provide high quality entertainment.

The healthcare facilities within the city are of extremely high quality whereas the transportation system is also quite efficient. The city has an extremely alluring social life for citizens who want to engage with peers and friends and to visit various locations across the city. The crime rate within the city is also considerably low.

4.Provo-Orem, Utah

The city offers a healthy lifestyle to the citizens who want to age comfortably. The city offers high levels of security and safety while also provides the citizens with the ability to embark on new careers or start a business.

5.San Francisco, California

This city is ranked considerably high in the health and longevity continuum whereas the environment of the city is ranked as the best across the country and thus is ideal for citizens who want to enjoy extremely pleasant weather conditions around the year.

Apart from these factors, the city has one of the best transportation systems across the world and offers an extremely pleasing social life.  Moreover, the crime rate within the city is also not very high.

Author Bio
Andy is a keen and passionate blogger and he’s been doing it for almost five years now. His favorite topics include senior issues and healthcare. If Andy is not writing, his time is being consumed by distributing Patient Handling items and other merchandises regarding mobility.

OBAMA’S PLAN FOR A FASCIST AMERICA

Dr. Jack Wheeler
Behind The Lines
Friday, 13 March 2015

Americans are welcome now in Vietnam, where so many people speak English because it’s required to learn it in school as a second language. Vietnamese have embraced capitalism with a vengeance, even while they are ruled by the same Commie Party we fought in the 60s, the Hammer & Sickle flies everywhere and Ho Chi Minh is pictured on their currency.

The days of America being Hanoi’s enemy are long gone. China is the enemy today as it has been for over two thousand years of Vietnamese history, against which Hanoi needs America as an ally. The tides of history ebb and flow. America’s greatest enemy today is not external but within.

A far more mortal danger to our country than Putin Russia, Chicom China, or Reconquista Mexico is a Hate America White House with the clear goal of creating a Fascist America.

Government control of all of our major institutions and industries is taking place right before our eyes in broad daylight. If we have any chance of reversing it, we must begin by identifying exactly what is going on. The first step is to call what is going on by its accurate name: fascism.

The Left loves to use the term as a pejorative sneer for anything lefties don’t like. But as an economic theory it has a specific meaning.

Socialism is government ownership of businesses and industries, with everyone in the economy – workers, managers, executives – being an employee of the State. In Castro’s Cuba until recently, even shoeshine boys had to belong to a state cooperative.

Fascism, by contrast and far more dishonestly, is government control of ostensibly private business and industry, the owners and executives of which can do nothing without bureaucratic regulatory approval. This is the economy Zero is determined to achieve. He is doing so with astonishing rapidity – and with Chicago gangsterism and corrupt thuggishness, hallmarks of any fascist regime.

So rapid and thuggishly thorough it leaves the Marxist agenda of the Frankfurt School’s “march through the institutions” – both economic and cultural – of the 20th century in the dust. It is a 21st century blitzkrieg of fascism. Let’s itemize it.

*Healthcare. This is the most obvious. Obamacare is a fascist federal takeover of the entire scope of health and medical care in the US, from insurance to hospitals to physicians.

*Banking. Less obvious is the extent to which the Dodd-Frank Act, named after two of the most corrupt crooks ever in Congress, gives federal regulators unlimited arbitrary control over the entire banking industry in the US.

*Communications. The recent ruling of the FCC now makes the Internet a federally regulated utility, giving Zero’s bureaucrats unlimited power for stifling innovation, competition, and websites they disapprove of. Add to this, of course, Zero’s NSA that has unlimited power to spy on the private communications of all Americans.

*Energy. The excuse of imaginary man-made global warming as a rationale for Climate Fascism to control energy production has so far failed – thanks to fracking and global cooling. But not for lack of trying, as climate fascists become ever more hysterical in their demands and hatred for anyone who denies their lies.

*Education. Common Core is the Department of Education’s takeover of local and state education on steroids. There is no constitutional authority for the very existence of the federal Education Department, much less its Anti-American history propaganda of Common Core or Mrs. Zero’s fascist school lunch starvation program.

*Defense. The combination of the homosexualization of the military, massive defense cuts, and the promotion of officers who are merely politically correct bureaucrats in uniform is reducing the Pentagon to Zero’s Poodle.

Add to this the treating allies like Israel with contempt, the refusal to defend America from Moslem barbarianism, and helping Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.

*Family and Culture. Homofascism, same-sex “marriage” now morphing to homopolygamy, the unceasing attempts to racially divide America and demonize whites as racist (witness Zero’s latest: “Slaves built the White House”).

*Economy and Unemployment. Crony capitalism, mass unemployment and disability payments to gain mass dependency on government welfare. People dependent on you vote for you.

*Justice and the Rule of Law. Two words define the most corrupt federal justice system in US history: Eric Holder. Add to this Zero’s blizzard of unconstitutional edicts (Executive Orders and Memorandums), and the blackmailing of Chief Justice John Roberts (and how many other judges?) to rule as demanded.

*Democracy. The purpose of Zero’s Amnesty for millions of illegal aliens is to enable them to illegally vote to place Democrats in permanent power.

Put this all together, and you see it is a fully comprehensive across-the-board plan to create a Fascist America. The only way to stop it is to start pulling it out by the roots.

E.g., Dodd-Frank and Obamacare must be repealed, FCC net neutrality reversed, every Zero EO undone, the EPA and the Department of Education must be fully defunded and eliminated, no welfare of any kind for illegals… the list of what must be done is very long.

None of this can be done, however, without achieving the first priority: explaining exactly why Zero is a fascist, why Dems are fascist, why the Left is fascist – and refusing to support, donate money to or vote for any Pub politician who won’t do so.

Zero, the Dems, the Left’s Grievance Industry, and their propagandists pretending to call themselves “journalists” have got to be put on the defensive. They have to be labeled for what they in fact are: fascists advocating smothering (and unconstitutional) national government control over every major business and institution in America.

Thus the most critical issue of our day is Freedom vs. Fascism. The 2016 contest for Congress and the White House must be framed in this context.

“Are you for freedom or are you for fascism?” is the question to ask any politician. “Are you for liberating America’s businesses and institutions from Obama’s fascist controls or not?”

Freedom in America is dying, but it is not dead yet. It can still be rescued and revived – but not unless we correctly diagnose what is killing it. Only then can radical surgery be performed to remove the cancerous tumor of Obama Fascism causing its impending demise.

Exposing Obama’s Plan for a Fascist America is where we must start. Let’s get started.

From To The Point News

Obama’s Legacy of Looters

From To The Point News Written by Jack Kelly
Wednesday, 03 December 2014

A black man, Jermaine Jones, 29, was gunned down in the street on the outskirts of Ferguson, Missouri Oct. 18, a few hours after his sister, Margaree Dixson, 35, had been shot half a mile away.

If this is the first you’ve heard about these murders, it’s because their killers also were black.

To most in the news media, “black deaths matter only if the killer is a white cop,” said Italian journalist Enza Ferrerri.

Which doesn’t happen very often. Of 1,265 people killed in St. Louis between 2003 and 2012, 1,138 (89.9%) were black, according to University of Missouri-St. Louis criminologist David Klinger, a former police officer.

About 90% of the black decedents (1,025) were slain by other blacks, his research indicates. Thirty two of them were killed by police officers; 22 of those 32 (1.93% of 1,138) by white cops.

Between 1976 and 2011, 7,982 blacks were murdered each year, on average – 94 % by other blacks, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. During that time, some 227 blacks were shot by police each year.

It’s probable that in a few of these police shootings, excessive force was used. So if a consequence of the news media’s obsessive coverage of the shooting of Michael Brown, 18, who was black, by Officer Darren Wilson, who is white, in Ferguson Aug. 9 is more widespread use of bodycams by police, that would be good.

But to assert – as the Obama administration and so many in the news media have – that racially motivated shootings by police are commonplace, and this was one of them – is vile.

Young black males are 21 times more likely to be shot dead by police than are young white males, says Pro Publica. But since more than two thirds of police officers are white, and blacks commit about half of violent crimes, it’s statistically probable most police shootings would involve a white cop and a black suspect.

In St. Louis, black cops have shot black suspects at essentially the same rate as have white cops, Prof. Klinger’s data indicate.

No statistical evidence supports the charge white cops routinely abuse black suspects. But did Officer Wilson use excessive force against Michael Brown? Economist Thomas Sowell (who is black) notes:

“What the grand jury had, that the rest of us did not have until the grand jury’s decision was announced, was a set of physical facts that told a story that was independent of what anybody said.

Moreover, the physical facts were consistent with what a number of black witnesses said under oath, despite expressing fears for their own safety for contradicting what those in the rampaging mobs were saying.”

Despite this, liberal journalists on the “Meet the Press” program last Sunday (11/30) were aghast when National Review’s Rich Lowry said the lesson of Ferguson was, “Don’t fight with a policeman when he stops you and try to take his gun.”

Even if Officer Wilson had been wearing a bodycam, it wouldn’t have mattered to these journalists, who were “too invested in the white-racism morality play to let facts – even videotaped facts – get in the way” said Mona Charen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Even more despicable are those who’ve made excuses for what took place after the grand jury refused to indict Officer Wilson for a crime it was clear he hadn’t committed.

Rioters and looters – who destroyed mostly black businesses and burned down a black church – aren’t “protesters” who are “trying to make their voices heard.” They’re criminals.

“There is no excuse for people to be out there burning down people’s businesses, burning down police cars,” former NBA star Charles Barkley told a Philadelphia radio station.

“If the history of other communities ravaged by riots in years past is any indication, there are blacks yet unborn who will be paying the price of these riots for years to come, Mr. Sowell said.

“Inflammatory rhetoric” from the Obama administration “fans racial discord,” said Milwaukee County (Wis) Sheriff David Clarke, who is black.

Charles Hurt at Breitbart calls what’s happened in Ferguson and elsewhere “The Obama Riots.” That’s what history should label them and they are his legacy.

Jack Kelly is a former Marine and Green Beret and a former deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. He is national security writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Commodities Are Building Bases and About To Rally – Steel Market

Commodities in general have been under pressure for the last couple years. This can be seen by looking at the GCC Greenhaven Continuous Commodity ETF which holds a basket of resources.

The weekly chart has formed a bullish bottom pattern, and as of last January it looks as though it’s now building a basing pattern. Overall commodities are in the very early stages of a stage 1 basing pattern and it looks as though it will be a few more months before any significant breakout will occur. But there could be some early entry points if you know what to look for…

A few days ago I talked about how commodities tend to perform well near the end of a bull market in the United States stock market. I also pointed out which hot index was going to benefit from this.

Read Commodity Index Report: http://www.gold-eagle.com/article/gold-and-oil-fuel-canadian-stock-market-rally

In this article I want to bring your attention to the steel market. Using the SLX Steel ETF you can clearly see the bottoming pattern and basing pattern for this commodity.

Currently steel is underperforming the stock market and is vulnerable to lower prices. But if we see a few things come together in the coming days or weeks, this could be a screaming buy.

My technical take on steel is this:

SLX has formed a bottoming pattern from January – mid March. It has since put in a strong impulse rally to make a higher high, and is now consolidating above key support. The RSI (Relative Strength) remains in a down trend, but if this starts to rise and SLX breaks above its recent highs around the $47.75 level I feel steel will start to rally with $50 being the next major whole number and previous high for steel to find some resistance.

Also price has been riding along the 200 day moving average which is acting as support. If price closes a couple of days below the 200 moving average I would consider this to be a bearish sign.

SLX

Steel Trading Conclusion:

In short, we are looking for the relative strength to start making new highs. Also we want to see a reversal bar on the SLX chart to the upside which we got on Tuesday. Or you can wait for a breakout and close above $47-48 area. Stop would be somewhere around the $45.75 area to start, then raise it as price rallies using intraday pivot lows on the 30 minute chart.

GET THESE REPORTS DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX FREE: www.GoldAndOilGuy.com

Chris Vermeulen
Disclaimer: I do not own shares of SLX at this point, but may buy some in the near future.

Sincerely,

Chris Vermeulen
Founder of Technical Traders Ltd. – Partnership Program

AIFMD New Regulation New Game

8-30-12-AIFMD

For Alternate Investment Fund Managers (AIFMs) across Europe, this is a defining period. With Alternate Investment Fund Manager’s Directive (AIFMD) soon becoming a reality, European alternate investment fund (AIF) industry is entering a new phase. From marketing to management, governance and administration, the directive is changing every aspect of the AIF industry. While AIFMD is expected to open up new horizons to AIFMs, it will also widen the legal and regulatory requirements. But are the fund managers ready? How are the member states implementing the directive? How is the market responding to the regulated environment?

Any new change brings with it a period of confusion and dilemma. Similarly, in the case of AIFMD too, uncertainties and uneven progress mar the European alternate investment fund industry today. AIFMD is a complex piece of legislation. For European member states as well as for AIFMs, getting a grip of the regulation seems to be a tough task. Though almost all EU member states have transposed AIFMD into national law by 22 July 2013, only 12 member states have completed full legislation process. Member states have revised, improved or scrapped their existing law to accommodate the Europe wide directive, which aims to harmonise and regulate the industry.

For a EU AIFM, the directive will enable them to market their AIFs to EU professional investors in their home state and in other European member states, post authorisation.  However, for non-EU AIFMs who will have to opt for private placement regimes in order to market their funds in EU member states, the situation is a bit more complex. Some member states have imposed additional requirements above the rules laid by the directive. For example, in Germany, the fund management regulation was scrapped and Capital Investment Act was introduced with new rules unique to Germany apart from the AIFMD requirements. They have also introduced new tax provisions along with it. Private placement regime is abolished and AIFMs will need to take approval from the German regulator to market or distribute any kind of AIFs.

While Germany may seem to be very rigid, some countries like Malta offer flexibility and cost advantage. AIFMs who wish to establish their funds in Malta will have 2 fund structures to choose from – alternate investment funds and professional investment funds. They also claim to process the authorisation application faster compared to other countries. Other countries like UK, Ireland, Sweden and Luxembourg also offer comparatively lighter regimes and require AIFMs to comply only with minimum rules laid out by AIFMD.

Ambiguity also prevails in the case of depositary regime. Depositary requirements are driven by a combination of factors like domicile of the AIFM and AIFs and their marketing practices. AIFMD requires all authorized EU AIFMs to appoint an independent depositary for the AIFs it manages. However, for non-EU AIFMs though AIFMD does not mandate appointment of depositary, countries like Germany, France and Denmark are making depositary regime mandatory. There are also variations in rules over appointment of domestic or cross-border depositary.

With such disparities and variations in implementation prevailing, the aim of creating a single market for non-UCITS funds still look distant. The impact of such an environment has created conundrums for AIFMs who will now be burdened with AIFMD as well as regulations of multiple jurisdictions. In the case of non-EU AIFMs there are apprehensions prevailing the proposed abolition of private placements once the passport regime becomes a reality.

According to a recent study by BNY Mellon, only fewer than 20 percent of AIFMs have submitted an application for AIFMD authorisation to their local regulator. The surveys also brought to light the fact that many AIFMs are still unclear or are yet to finalise their plans towards compliance. This slow rate of progress also highlights both the uncertainties and practical challenges the industry is facing while trying to get grips with AIFMD.

After the economic crisis, fund managers are already seeing a huge dip in their revenue. Now with AIFMD becoming a reality, they will also have to bear the cost of compliance. New systems and processes will need to be introduced to comply with risk and compliance requirements. The BNY Mellon survey points that firms expect a cost of around £1,50,000 per institution as a one-off set up cost of compliance. The final cost of compliance may far exceed the number.  With such an impact on the cost structure, fund managers are in a dilemma whether to increase the cost of funds or to absorb the cost to gain market advantage.

The EU AIF market today is at a transitional stage in which confusion and dilemma prevails among AIFMs, regulators and to some extent among investors too. Both EU and non-EU AIFMs are closely monitoring the developments around AIFMD to take appropriate decisions. Market may bear brunt of this state of affairs now but once the directive becomes a reality and obtain more clarity, it will bounce back with vigour. The proposed passport regime, which is expected to become a reality in 2018, will also boost the market and bring back its lost glory.

Note about this guest post:

This is a complicated subject and this further information from Wikipedia explains why this legislation was passed in many countries in Europe

EU fund managers that manage alternative investment funds (essentially hedge funds and private equity funds) (“AIFs”) have not been subject to the same rules to protect the investing public as mutual (including UCITS) and pension funds and their managers. In general, the lack of financial regulation is seen by some to have contributed to the severity of the global financial crisis.

Mike

Why Gold Is Important to Our Economy

Gold closed today at $1647. I thought this guest post by Stevie Clapton was timely.

Did you know that gold is one of the few items that can retain its economic value in recessions and even depressions? Gold is a very unique substance and it is something that is important to our economy. In fact, some politicians like the free market advocate Ron Paul suggest that gold would make a much better currency than the paper dollar that we use today. There are a number of reasons why Ron Paul and many others have come to this conclusion and it actually makes a lot of sense. If you’d like to find out why gold is so important to our economy, you’ll find the key reasons below.

1 – Gold takes time and energy to be produced

Gold is a desirable item. Most people like gold because they consider it a commodity. It’s shiny, it sparkles, and it’s attractive. What people don’t realize is that their attraction to gold is what makes it cost money and be important to the economy. People want it and they are willing to spend money on it. This makes it valuable and because gold takes time and energy to be produced, it retains its economic value and is important to the economy. Unlike the paper dollar, gold cannot be printed and therefore the currency cannot get inflated by man’s greed. The paper dollar is currently printed in the United States by the Federal Reserve. They regulate the economy by controlling interests rates, handling the money supply, and essentially overseeing inflation. The problem is that this is a system controlled by man. Human beings are susceptible to greed and when you place an entire currency in man’s hand, it’s inevitable that there will eventually be failure. The paper dollar costs nothing to produce either, it is simply printed. Gold cannot be manipulated because it must be found, which takes time and costs money. You cannot print gold and it can’t be created free of cost.

2 – Gold retains its value at all times

No matter what state the economy is in, or how inflated the paper dollar is, gold always retains its value. The reason for this is because gold cannot be produced easily. It must be harvested from earth, which takes time and energy. This makes gold very stable in terms of its economic value. That is why free market advocate Ron Paul feels very strongly that gold should return to being used as a currency, in replace of paper money. It protects society from being overrun by those that obtain power. There would be no way for the government to print money and inflate the currency for narrow political reasons. In fact, wars would become far less common. Currently, when a nation goes to war, the currency is inflated and money is printed in order to afford it. This is better for politicians than taxing everyone, because inflation in the currency is far less noticed. This allows them to spend money on the nation’s military presence and wars can be started with very little sign of any economic problem by the people. However, food becomes more expensive, housing is more expensive, and the lower and middle income families suffer greatly.

3 – Should we return to a gold standard?

If you want fewer wars, a more stable economy, and a government that doesn’t control how much value your paychecks actually have, then returning to a gold standard would be great. The problem is that much of society is ill-informed about how important gold is to our economy and they don’t understand why it’s a better alternative than the paper dollar. While it may take a significant amount of time and the paper dollar will probably have to cripple itself before it happens, an actual consideration on returning to a gold standard will like take place at some point in the future.

Author Bio: Stevie Clapton works at RentersInsurance.net on the content team where he writes article about finance.

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