Sunday, December 27, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Taking Things For Granted

“Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.”
Aldous Huxley

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Role of Republicats

"But before you get overly excited about the prospects of a political solution, don’t forget the role the Republicrats have played in bringing the nation to this sorry state over the past several decades. If you’re holding out for an outbreak of capitalism or other signs of fiscal sanity once Republicans regain some modicum of political power, you are delusional. They may package their programs in different-colored paper, but when you rip away the wrappings, you’ll find the same statism and the same promises of a chicken in every pot. Look after yourself – no one else is going to do it for you."
David Galland

Monday, December 21, 2009

I Need More....Suck It Up

Straight in, suck up and go,
Cool it, swallow, swallow
Breathe deep, take it all It comes cheap
Push it through the doors
Because in between the lines
I'm gonna pack more lines
So I can get in
Ooh traffic jam got more cars
Than a beach got sand
Suck it up, suck it up, suck it up,
Fill it up until no more
I'm no crazy creep,
I've got it coming
To me because I'm not satisfied
The hunger keeps on growing
I eat too much
I drink too much
I want too much
Too much
I've got to get it somewhere I mean,
you never know,
maybe you're dreaming
Who do you think you're watching
Who do you think you need
Play for me,
play more,
Ten times in the same day I need more,
I'm going
Over my borders
I'm going to take more,
more From you,
letter by letter
I eat too much
I drink too much
I want too much
Too much
I told, God, I'm coming
To your country
I'm going to eat up your cities,
Your homes, you know
I've got a stomach full it's not
A chip on my shoulder
I've got this growl in my tummy
And I'm gonna stop it today
I eat too much I drink too much
I want too much
Too much
Suck it up...
"Too Much" - The Dave Matthews Band

As we get swept up into this crazy gluttonous season called "retailers Christmas", lets digest Dave's words.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I Faked It

Over the past few years, it's been a challenge to really determine who's faking it. The banks appeared to have money. Madoff appeared to be returning his investors their money. Oprah thought that all of her authors were authentic. Elin thought that Tiger was loyal and moral. Is it time to ask more questions and assume less?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Different Approach

Well I've made enough posts lately about protestors, tear gas, and riot gear. It looks like these Oregon folks might take a different, more gentle and creative approach.

ASHLAND, Ore. (AP) — "A city council member in an Oregon town noted for its Shakespeare festival and its occasional dustups over public nudity plans a showing in his art gallery of nude portraits and conceptual art involving naked people. For gallery-goers as well, clothing will be optional — even though it's winter in Ashland, a small college town on the California borderCouncil member Eric Navickas is opposed to a possible ban on public nudity in the town. Nudity is legal in Ashland, except in the city center and public parks, where people are required to cover their genitals. 'We feel that the nude ban is not only an attack on freedom of expression but also an attack on the human body itself,' Navickas said. 'We wanted to have a show to celebrate the nude body and differentiate the nude body from anything indecent.' "
Source: LA TIMES

The Man Behind The Curtain

When will we find out who the real wizard is? My favorite quotes from the clip.
"Do you presume to criticize the great Oz? You ungrateful creatures. Think yourselves lucky that I'm giving you audience tomorrow instead of twenty years from now!" The Wizard of Oz

"Who are you?" Dorothy

"No my dear. I'm a very good man, just a very bad wizard." The Wizard of Oz

I envision Bernanke using this in his resignation speech some day. "No my dear. I'm a very good man, just a very bad Federal Reserve Chairman".

Friday, December 18, 2009

Climate of Hate

The TimesOnline reports that the Italian Prime Minister was the recipient of a flying cathedral:

"Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister, left hospital today after spending a fourth night under observation after an assailant broke his nose with a model of the Milan cathedral. Massimo Tartaglia, 42, an electronics engineer with mental problems, threw a heavy souvenir statuette of the Duomo at Mr Berlusconi's face, leaving him with a fractured nose and two broken teeth. He later apologised to Mr Berlusconi by letter but told police the controversial populist Prime Minister was 'ruining Italy'. Italian newspapers today devoted their front pages to a parcel bomb planted in an underground corridor at Bocconi business university in Milan which was detonated by a timer in the early hours of yesterday morning. It contained two kilos of dynamite but had only "partially" exploded, police said. A group calling itself "The Informal Anarchist Federation" claimed responsibility. The same group also sent a parcel bomb to an immigration office at Gorizia on the Italian-Slovenian border. It exploded but caused no injuries. 'After the statuette, the dynamite' said Il Giornale, the newspaper owned by Mr Berlusconi's brother Paolo, adding 'here come the bombs'. It claimed that the parcel bombs, like Mr Tartaglia's attack, were 'the fruit of a climate of hate' against Mr Berlusconi created by the Left."

The recent "hoopla" over the two yahoos that crashed the party at the White House might have some real underlying meaning. Maybe the "elephant in the room" is that everyone feels that in this "climate of hate", our president might be at risk.

The mob continues to get angrier. Xenophobia and racism are climbing. I've had a handful of people state this week "did you notice that Tiger didn't like the black girls?". No, the thought hadn't occurred to me. I've concluded that he likes barmaids.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Person of The Year

It wasn't surprising to see Time Magazine name Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, to be their "Person of The Year". The award was bestoyed on him "Because of his monumental influence on the world’s most important economy". I do agree that he has monumental influence on the entire world economy. I will predict that this will be the "last high point" in Mr. Bernanke's career. As I stated in my post September 30, 2008, Mr. Bernanke will ultimately be everyone's "fall guy". When hyperinflation kicks into high gear, he will be the man that takes the blame. The great maestro, Alan Greenspan, will be long gone when the implosion occurs.

My vote for Person of The Year is Elin Nordegren, the now famous wife of Tiger Woods. In my Snake Charmers post back in May, I stated then "I have to ask today, when are one of these political wives going to stand up for women and rip the eyeballs out of one of these snakes at the press conference?". Well, Ms. Nordegren didn't need to be a politicians wife to stand up for all women across the world. She didn't go for the eyeballs with her fingernails either, she chose a 3 iron and opened a can of "whoopass" on Tiger's face. I applaud her actions. I'm not supporting domestic violence, but she did what so many women should have done before....take a strong stand against abuse and immoral behavior. I believe that her statement will standout for years to come. Rumors state that she plans to divorce Tiger. I hope that she does for the same reasons. You don't deserve a good wife when you don't respect her. Good luck to Ms. Nordegren and hopefully many women will be inspired to take back control of their life.

My runnerup nomination goes to Jenny Sanford, South Carolina's first lady, for telling her husband Governer Sanford to enjoy your life with your "soulmate". She filed for divorce this week.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Vicious Cycle

My buddy JD turned me onto Thomas Friedman's book, "Hot, Flat, and Crowded". This is a great excerpt:

"At its core, the China-America growth engine worked like this: We in America built more and more stores, to sell more and more stuff, made in more and more Chinese factories, powered by more and more coal, and all those sales produced more dollars, which China used to buy more and more U.S. Treasury Bills, which allowed the Federal Reserve to extend more and more easy credit to more and more banks, consumers, and businesses so that more and more Americans could purchase more and more homes, and all those sales drove home prices higher and higher, which made more and more Americans feel like they had more and more money to buy more and more stuff made in more and more Chinese factories powered by more and more coal, which earned China more and more dollars to buy more and more T-bills to be recirculated back to America to create more and more credit so more and more people could build more and more stores and buy more and more homes . . .This relationship, so critical in inflating the post–Cold War credit bubble, was so intimate that when Americans suddenly stopped buying and building in the fall of 2008, thousands of Chinese factories went dark and whole Chinese villages found themselves unemployed."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Inflationary Boiling Frog

"The boiling frog story states that a frog can be boiled alive if the water is heated slowly enough — it is said that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will never jump out. The story is generally told in a figurative context, with the upshot being that people should make themselves aware of gradual change lest they suffer a catastrophic loss." Source: Wikipedia

Inflation can sometimes be analagous to the "boiling frog". It gradually creeps in and slowly climbs. The term inflation is often debated. I align with the Austrian economic definition that inflation is the "expansion of credit". Deflation, the opposite, would be the contraction of credit. Traditional economic theory would state that inflation is the rising of prices and deflation would be the opposite. Austrian inflation can definitely lead to the rise in prices.
Our credit expansion since 1982 resulted in a significant rising in, cars, food, fuel, stocks.... The Federal Reserve continues to expand credit at record levels. Prices could be heading to a new level, hyperinflation. I just received my medical insurance renewal that included a 20% increase from last year...... Are we that boiling frog!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Drinking The Poison

Bloomberg reports:
"Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is prescribing 'poison' to the US economy by keeping interest rates near zero and fueling a wave of speculative capital that may cause the next global crisis, former Morgan Stanley chief Asian economist Andy Xie said. Bernanke is making decisions based on 'marginal considerations' that will help short-term growth and employment, instead of focusing on the 'soundness of the system,' Xie wrote in an e-mailed note. The next worldwide crisis will probably strike in 2012, driven by inflation as the low cost of borrowing spurs increases in asset prices, he said. 'There is a Chinese saying that one could quench the thirst by drinking poison,' said Xie, who predicted in September 2006 that the US economy would fall into a recession in 2008. 'Bernanke seems to be prescribing exactly this to the US economy. The slower Bernanke raises interest rates, the bigger the next crisis.' "

Back to The Economics of A Twelve Year Old

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Total Inebriation

"On at least one level, one can blame the economists and efficient market theorists. These academic types are like bartenders who deny the existence of alcoholics. 'Rational economic man' is always and everywhere sober, these pointy-headed idiots say. And thus, if all market participants are sober, public drunkenness cannot exist in the marketplace... and thus all prices put forth by the market are rationally and soberly justified.
This moronic assertion, bolstered by layers of Ivy League credibility, encourages investors to ignore signs of mania (just as the barfly waves off friendly hints that perhaps he should call it a night). As the evening wears on, the drink becomes more and more intoxicating... but no one admits to being tipsy, let alone drunk as a skunk. Total inebriation ensues."

Justice Litle, Editorial Director, Taipan Publishing Group - 12/2/09

Drunk analogies must be getting popular:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I Want My MTV

College campuses appear to be heating up worldwide. First UCLA, now Iran. We have a generation of kids waking up to the reality that their parents have not only indebted them for life, but also destroyed their current job market and prospects. Kent State might end up looking like a mild one when this one peaks.

"Violence erupted in Tehran today as thousands of students and opposition activists staged fresh protests against the Government. Riot police using teargas and batons charged demonstrators in two of the capital’s main squares. Security forces flooded the streets and sealed off universities. They were reported to be firing in the air and bringing in water cannon, but they failed to prevent students demonstrating on campuses across Tehran and in other Iranian cities. The authorities cut off internet services and took down the mobile telephone network in some places, but snatches of grainy footage still reached the West."
Source: Times Online

Cutting off cell phones and internet access will really get these kids fired up! "I want my MTV!"

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Anniversary Riot

The Associated Press reports below that on the one year anniversary of the killing of a Greek teen, the rioters decided to riot again on the anniversary date. I don't know if I've ever heard of an anniversary riot.

ATHENS, Greece -- "Masked youths smashed store windows and hurled rocks and firebombs at riot police who responded with tear gas Monday in a second day of violence during commemorations of last year's fatal police shooting of a teenager. The death last year of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos led to some of the worst rioting Greece had ever seen, with gangs of youths smashing, looting and burning stores in cities across the country for two weeks, protesting heavy-handed police tactics."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Small College Herd Joins The Fray

I've never heard of San Francisco State University, but they've joined the herd!

"Police in riot gear arrested 33 protesters this morning at San Francisco State University, a day after students barricaded themselves inside the business school to protest fee hikes and budget cuts at the state's public universities. Campus police clad in riot helmets, joined by officers from throughout the Cal State University police system and San Francisco police, entered the business administration building at 3:15 a.m., said university spokeswoman Ellen Griffin." Source: San Francisco Chronicle
They even formed the "human wall" around the building.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sounds of Weeping

And you thought that it could only happen in Zimbabwe? This one is only 1 to 100......

The Times reports: "Shops and markets in North Korea have been closed and all cash transactions frozen after the Government’s shock announcement of a devaluation of its currency in an effort to crack down on the country’s burgeoning free-market economy."

"In the capital, Pyongyang, yesterday only the few shops and restaurants permitted to trade in foreign currencies — patronised by the privileged elite and the city’s small foreign population — were open for business. All other enterprises and services based on cash, including markets, long-distance bus services, barbers’ shops, saunas and bath houses, were suspended until the revaluation of the won is completed next week."

"There were reports of public outrage and confusion after the announcement of the measure, which requires North Koreans to swap existing won notes for new ones at an exchange rate of one to 100 — effectively knocking two zeroes off their value. Because of a cap of 100,000 won per family (£475 at the official exchange rate), anyone with significant holdings of cash will have their savings wiped out."

"'Loud sounds of weeping in every house have not ceased since the news was released,” a South Korean website quoted an inhabitant of Sinuiju, a city on the border with China, as saying. “Weeping and fighting between couples has not stopped anywhere. The atmosphere of the city is terrible now.'"

It is a shift in mass social mood mon amis.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Onion & The Detroit Mortuaries

The outer layer of the U.S. onion continues to peel away.

From The Times:
"The abandoned corpses, in white body bags with number tags tied to each toe, lie one above the other on steel racks inside a giant freezer in Detroit’s central mortuary, like discarded shoes in the back of a wardrobe. Some have lain here for years, but in recent months the number of unclaimed bodies has reached a record high. For in this city that once symbolised the American Dream many cannot even afford to bury their dead. 'I have not seen this many unclaimed bodies in 13 years on the job,' said Albert Samuels, chief investigator at the mortuary. 'It started happening when the economy went south last year. I have never seen this many people struggling to give people their last resting place.' Unburied bodies piling up in the city mortuary — it reached 70 earlier this year — is the latest and perhaps most appalling indignity to be heaped on the people of Detroit. The motor city that once boasted the highest median income and home ownership rate in the US is today in the midst of a long and agonising death spiral."

Monday, December 7, 2009

Green Food For Thought

"Isn't it ironic?" Alanis Morissette

This just in from the Copenhagen Climate Summit. You have to love the hypocrisy!
"Ms Jorgensen reckons that between her and her rivals the total number of limos in Copenhagen next week has already broken the 1,200 barrier. The French alone rang up on Thursday and ordered another 42. "We haven't got enough limos in the country to fulfil the demand," she says. "We're having to drive them in hundreds of miles from Germany and Sweden." And the total number of electric cars or hybrids among that number? "Five," says Ms Jorgensen. "The government has some alternative fuel cars but the rest will be petrol or diesel. We don't have any hybrids in Denmark, unfortunately, due to the extreme taxes on those cars. It makes no sense at all, but it's very Danish." The airport says it is expecting up to 140 extra private jets during the peak period alone, so far over its capacity that the planes will have to fly off to regional airports – or to Sweden – to park, returning to Copenhagen to pick up their VIP passengers. As well 15,000 delegates and officials, 5,000 journalists and 98 world leaders, the Danish capital will be blessed by the presence of Leonardo DiCaprio, Daryl Hannah, Helena Christensen, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Prince Charles. The top hotels – all fully booked at £650 a night – are readying their Climate Convention menus of (no doubt sustainable) scallops, foie gras and sculpted caviar wedges."
Source: The Telegraph

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

"At particular times a great deal of stupid people have a great deal of stupid money... At intervals, from causes which are not to be the present purpose, the money of these people – the blind capital, as we call it, of the country – is particularly large and craving; it seeks for someone to devour it, and there is a 'plethora'; it finds someone and there is 'speculation'; it is devoured and there is 'panic'."
Walter Bagehot, Editor-in-chief of The Economist (1826-77)

"I am not a smart man."
Forrest Gump

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Wasn't This Obvious?

It is my humble position that what's transpiring across the world does not take a rocket scientist to understand. It's amazing reading all of the articles about Dubai's pending default. Why are we always so surprised? Arrogance? Ignorance? Overly optimistic? Linear thinkers?

Dubai definitely is the outer layer of the Middle Eastern onion.

"Robert Prechter's research illustrates that during major credit expansion periods, the tallest buildings "of their time" have been constructed. The Burj Dubai might be a great example of this phenomenom. Euphoria rules at the crest of the tidal wave."
Random Roving 12/11/08

"It looks like that credit card might have run dry. It sounds like they've been dining on a few Plastic Eggrolls! This will be one to watch. Lets consider Dubai to be the world's leader in credit spending!"
Random Roving 3/11/09

"He responded 'the parking lot at the airport is filled with abandoned cars'."
Random Roving 6/16/09

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Steep Curve

The steepness of the curve of stock prices since March 2009 really concerns me. What concerns me more is that it has all been artificially stimulated. At some point, reality sets in. Euphoria continues to creep back into the American mindset. These things cause concern for me. Moments ago, I sold 50% of my IRA portfolio (100% of all non-commodity holdings). January 2010 will be an awakening for many.

The slope of the sand pile appears too steep to me......again. Look at the chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average below and note the steepness of the curve from March 6 to current. Remember, I brought closure to the confession in May.

Don't forget the tech bubble burst and dotcom meltdown (below). Note how steep that curve was just prior to the collapse.Charts sourced from

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The 1%

"My sole purpose one and a half years ago when I started writing about what I saw happening in this country was to convince enough people that the fiscal and foreign policies of our politician leaders would lead to disaster, so that we could change our path and I could leave my three sons a future brighter than my own. I have come to the conclusion that less than 1% of Americans or 3 million people really care about the path of destruction we are on. Approximately 1% of the population owns 90% of the wealth in the country. The actual number of people in control of the country is quite small. There are maybe a couple thousand people who control the reins of power (100 people in the White House, 535 Congressmen, 50 bankers, 20 people in the Federal Reserve, 9 Supreme Court justices, 100 people in power at governmental agencies, 50 media titans, 100 corporate CEOs, and maybe 200 rich influential people such as Gates, Soros and Buffett)."
James Quinn

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Another One Bites The Dust

I have to say that I never thought that I would have to add Tiger Woods to the "snake charmers" list. Yes, we are all human, but what happened to the moral man? Another fallen hero. Has the media lifted some up too high and our expectations are too great? Or, has our society decayed to a level that the Roman Empire would appreciate?

Maybe I'm an idealist, but I believe that we have to have some moral heroes left out there for our children to admire. How about being moral AND human? Isn't that still an option? So so so disappointed Tiger! I thought that you were one of the "good ones". Is Earl rolling over in his grave?

Is my main man, Peyton Manning, next????

The Cast of Characters

"We are years from a final resolution. The cast of characters who will decide our fate is unknown today. Barack Obama will not be a major player in the climax of this Crisis. He will go down in history as the James Buchanan or Herbert Hoover figure that only insured that the Crisis would grow bigger and more painful through his actions. The country is likely to turn to an aging Boomer to lead the country through the violent phase of this Crisis. The initial phase of this Crisis has passed, much like the stock market crash in 1929 and the appearance of a recovery in 1930. The “solutions” that have been implemented thus far will drive our deficits skyward, drive the dollar downward, and ultimately push the economy into a depression. The confluence of a deepening depression with the onset of peak oil shortages in supplies and soaring prices between 2010 and 2014 will plunge the country into chaos. As the world loses confidence in the leadership of our country, they will exit our debt and our dollar. The collapse of the U.S. currency could result in a number of calamitous scenarios."
James Quinn

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Don't Taze Me Bro!

And you say it can't and won't happen here? These are rich college kids in LA protesting a 32% tuition increase.
What's the uneducated, entitled angry mob going to do?

Monday, November 30, 2009

G. Edward Griffin On Collectivists and Invidivuals

G. Edward Griffin discusses individualism, collectivism, mobs, and totalitarian rule. I presented his book, The Creature From Jekyll Island in September, 2008.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Suspending Gold Rush

"The rush by retail investors into gold has forced the US government to suspend sales of the American Eagle, the world's most popular bullion coin, after it ran out. The suspension, the second since the start of the financial crisis in August 2008, is the latest sign of investors seeking a safe haven in bullion amid the woes of the US dollar. Gold sales have also benefited from concerns about the health of Wall Street and worries over a possible spike in inflation due to a lax monetary policy. 'The US Mint has depleted its current inventory of 2009 American Eagle 1 ounce bullion coins due to the continued strong demand,' the mint said. It added that selling would resume 'once sufficient inventories ...can be acquired to meet market demand'."
The entire article:

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Dubai Standstill

In December ,2008 I made a post about Dubai. In March, 2009 I provided an update. Then in June of this year we talked about the parking lots. The Wall Street Journal reports this:
LONDON (MarketWatch) -- "Fears of a potential sovereign default by Dubai roiled financial markets Thursday, sinking stocks in Asia and Europe and pushing up government-bond prices as investors sought safe havens. Dubai late Wednesday said it would restructure Dubai World and announced a six-month "standstill" on repayments of the state-run wide-ranging conglomerate's debt. Analysts said Dubai's woes were a blow to sentiment, serving as a reminder that potential trouble spots remain. 'I don't see this as a massive issue but it's another warning to where the world got itself last year with loose monetary conditions [and] loose lending,' said Naeem Wahid, market strategist at Lloyds TSB. 'And, in a few cases, the problems are still out there and we could continue to see these kinds of nasty surprises' in the future."

The entire article:

Friday, November 27, 2009

Time For A Golden Pullback?

Gold continues a tremendous run. Is it time for a pullback? It's 17.6% above the magical $1000 pyschological barrier. It's catapulted upward in five nice waves. It may be time for an A-B-C correction.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey Day Update

What a beautiful day it was in the Carolina mountains! Fifty degrees and sunshine. Me, the pup, big sis, the two nephews, and Bucky the cousin pup trekked up Rock Mountain. What a glorious view it was.

Hope that everyone had a great day with the family!

A Pause For The Cause

I'll take a break from the study of the "human condition" to focus on today's holiday. In grammer school we were taught that this holiday represented the Pilgrims and the Indians sitting down for a meal. It does create a nice picture and setting. Lets hope that today around the world that the warring factions can take a break and cease fire to think beyond "the task at hand". Maybe they could even enjoy a meal together. I know, probably not.

Thinking of Indians, Jackson and I hiked yesterday along the Cherokee Trail in the Carolina Mountains. It makes one wonder how an entire civilization can be wiped out from the planet. I guess Jared Diamond described the process well in his Pulitzer Prize winning "Guns, Germs, and Steel".

I wish all a great holiday. Break bread with family, take a nap, and enjoy some good down time. Thanksgiving might be the best family holiday because it is so much less commercial than Christmas. Please don't get swept up in that Friday morning retail frenzy. Remember what happened last year on this same holiday. Humans are supposed to behave differently than hogs!
Enjoy mon amis!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Working It Through

"It's a total and complete disaster and the crisis we had is just the appetizer to the big total breakdown of financial markets and of governments in five or 10 years time when the whole system goes bust. The future will be a total disaster, with a collapse of our capitalistic system as we know it today, wars, massive government debt defaults and the impoverishment of large segments of Western society. Unless the system is cleaned out of losses, the way communism collapsed, capitalism will collapse. The best way to deal with any economic problem is to let the market work it through."
Marc Faber

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Time To Take The Money And Run??

In "The Last Great Exit" I indicated that 10500 on the Dow could be the last great exit. Yesterday it closed at 10451. Is this the top of the "Head Fake"?

“This "head fake" presents the feeling that the bottom has been found and the upswing has returned. It is likely that in the coming six months, a rally will occur, the media will state ‘the stimulus is working’ and the herd will jump back in only to be hammered at the ultimate bottom.”
Random Roving – 2/28/09

"Go on take the money and run" The Steve Miller Band

Three Strikes You're Out!

In a downward trending mass social mood, it's very likely that labor strikes will become very popular again. We might even see a professional sports strike in the next few years. An angry mob loves a strike and a picket line. The cycle will likely bring unions back to strength as fear and anger "drives the herd closer together".

From the BBC:
NI Post Staff Join Strike Action
"Postal workers are manning a picket line at the Mallusk mail centre Postal workers in Northern Ireland are taking part in the first nationwide postal strike in two years. It follows the collapse of talks between Royal Mail and the Communication Workers' Union (CWU). Mail centre staff at and drivers began a 24-hour walkout at 0400 BST. Delivery and collection staff will strike on Friday with more strike dates expected. Union leaders have blamed Business Secretary Lord Mandelson and Royal Mail chiefs for the failure to reach a deal. But ministers say the suggestion that an agreement was vetoed is "fantasy". Bobbie Weatherall, from the Communications Workers' Union, is one of the workers manning the picket line at the Royal Mail mail centre in Mallusk. "I would ask people to please bear with us in this situation, we are seeking a resolution to it," he said. "If everyone has the will do to that then we can get round the table and negotiate."

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Grand Experiment

"None of the experimenters saw this crisis coming, but all of them claim to know the remedy! And a lot of talk about a market failure is being presented as the alleged root of this crisis. Sure, hedge funds, bankers, and regulators certainly played a role. But their reckless behavior is but a symptom of what had been going wrong and was not the cause. This crisis is not a market failure. It's a monumental policy failure! So we have to look into what causes a speculative bubble to understand the real culprits of the current predicament. The answer is fairly straight forward: Expanding money supply and credit growth. Since the central bank controls the money supply and credit growth, it's obvious that the central bank is accountable for the evolution of bubbles and the consequences of their inescapable bursting. Unfortunately we're not hearing or reading much about this obvious truth. Instead, fairytales about market failure are dominating the media. And an old and cynical policy joke comes immediately to mind: 'When the day of reckoning arrives there is but one policy solution: Lying, lying, lying.'. This seems to be the conclusion, the current credo of our politicians and the vast majority of economists. Many of whom are in the business of consulting politicians."
Claus Vogt - Weiss Research Inc.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Claus on Gold

"Of course we know that gold does not pay interest. Nor does crude oil, wheat, or any other commodity. But we also know that this shortcoming does not forestall rising prices. And yes, gold is a non-productive investment. It doesn't help economic development. Gold is the ultimate inflation hedge. However, its usefulness is very different: Gold is insurance against the follies of government, especially against inflation. No more, no less. If you have ever glanced through a history book, you may have read how governments all over the world implemented foolish and dangerous policies time and again. Unfortunately, today we're living through one of those sad times. Economists and historians have examined the important topic of inflation. And their findings are clear: Inflation is always a monetary phenomenon ... it does not appear out of thin air ... and it's always the result of specific monetary and fiscal policies. Empirical studies have plainly shown that all big spikes in inflation had two common characteristics: 1. Fiat money, and 2. Strongly rising budget deficits mainly financed by monetizing government debt. Both characteristics are present today, and not just in the U.S. but globally. Historically, most monetary regimes were based on money backed by gold and silver. But now the whole world is using money based solely on promises and faith."
Claus Vogt - Weiss Research Inc.


Just saw these guys as the warmup band to U2. They put on a nice tight show. They might be sensing a mood change in the masses.

Paranoia is in bloom,
The PR transmissions will resume,
They'll try to push drugs that keep us all dumbed down,
And hope that we will never see the truth around
(So come on)
Another promise,
another scene,
Another packaged lie to keep us trapped in greed,
And all the green belts wrapped around our minds,
And endless red tape to keep the truth confined
(So come on)
They will not force us,
They will stop degrading us,
They will not control us,
We will be victorious
(So come on)
Interchanging mind control,
Come let the revolution take it's toll,
If you could flick a switch and open your third eye,
You'd see thatWe should never be afraid to die
(So come on)
Rise up and take the power back,
It's time the fat cats had a heart attack,
You know that their time's coming to an end,
We have to unify and watch our flag ascend
They will not force us,
They will stop degrading us,
They will not control us,
We will be victorious

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Fear of Thought

“Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth -- more than ruin -- more even than death.... Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man."
Bertrand Russell

Friday, November 20, 2009

Convenience vs Necessity

"Collectively, U.S. consumers have had charge cards for about 90 years now. Basically, they're a convenient way for people to pay for items without having to carry cash. But people shouldn't confuse convenience with necessity. However, for the vast majority of the people complaining — the ones who have balances that can't easily be paid off because they bought too many flat panel TVs — well, I hate to say it, but you got what was coming to you. You borrow from a loan shark, and you risk a visit from a thug wielding a baseball bat."
Nilus Mattive, Weiss Research Inc.
"I believe that the American public hopes for a continuation of the Supersize Me Era. We really enjoyed it and we hope that somehow Obama can keep the party going. Unfortunately, I believe that the kegs have run dry and we'll be forced to shift our mentality to a place it hasn't been in our lifetime. It's best to be proactive than reactive. Reactive can be very painful. Hopefully you have a nice photo album of the era. It will be one to remember."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Look At Yesterday: A Summary of the 90's

"The 1990s deteriorated into a series of culture wars as Pat Robertson’s Moral Majority and Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition staked out their positions. The dissatisfaction with the status quo was made clear when populist Ross Perot was able to garner 18.9% of the national vote in 1992, leading to the election of Bill Clinton. Pessimism and gridlock marked the 1990’s. With a Republican Congress and a Democratic President, virtually no major legislation was passes between 1994 and 2000. This restricted government spending while tax revenue soared in the late 1990s with the stock bubble. The result was budget surpluses. Individual self interest dominated personal life, and intractable national problems like Social Security and Medicare didn’t demand immediate action, so they were pushed off to the distant future. The public became disillusioned as the two parties degenerated into name calling, accusations and shrill rhetoric. Incivility in public discourse, a widening chasm between the haves and have nots, all-encompassing distrust of financial and governmental institutions and leaders, and a debased media and public culture led to a national pessimism."
James Quinn

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Seven Consequences

Martin Weiss at Weiss Research Inc. provides seven consequences of the rapidly accelerating debt and Federal Reserve's loose monetary policy:

"Consequence #1 is a recovery in the U.S. economy. When the government creates that much monetary and fiscal stimulus, it naturally has some impact, of course. That's why a recovery is now under way and why it is likely to continue for a few more quarters.
Consequence #2 is the rally in the U.S. stock market. Again, when so much liquidity is pumped into the economy, it's only natural that some of it would flow into equities.
Consequence #3 is a recovery in emerging markets. Here, unlike the U.S. and other Western economies, not only are the economies benefiting from government stimulus, but they are also benefiting from strong domestic fundamental growth factors.
Consequence #4 is the decline of the U.S. dollar. The greenback is falling against the euro and virtually every major currency on the planet, and it will probably continue to do so. The U.S. Dollar Index, which measures the dollar against a basket of six major currencies, is now nearing its lowest level in history. Once that level breaks, the pace of the dollar's decline could accelerate sharply.
Consequence #5 is the decline in the value of paper money as a whole, and the parallel rise in gold. Friday, gold pierced the $1,100 per-ounce level. Next, despite any intermediate setbacks, it could rise to $1,300.
Consequence #6 is rising interest rates. Yes, the Federal Reserve can hold its official short-term interest rates near zero, and this is precisely what it's doing. But the Fed does not exert the same control over long-term interest rates. Nor can it control foreign central banks, some of which are beginning to raise interest rates. And most important, the U.S. government cannot control foreign investors who now own over half of the publicly traded U.S. government securities.
Meanwhile, the forces driving long-term interest rates higher are powerful and enormous — the same forces we told you about earlier: massive monetary inflation and equally massive federal deficits.
Consequence #7 is an anemic U.S. economy overall, weighed down by high unemployment, low spending, and most important, the largest debts of all time. Don't expect this recovery to last very long. A second recession could come quickly on its heels.
I am often asked: Is the recession over? My answer is "yes." But to the more important question — is America's long-term depression over? — my answer is a firm "no." In the years ahead, we're likely to see a series of longer-than-usual recessions interrupted by shorter-than-normal recoveries, all adding up to a long depression.
Such is the inevitable consequence of the massive, revolutionary changes that have already taken place ... with more changes of similar magnitude still ahead."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's A Party In The USA

One of the great challenges of parenthood is having to listen to your children's music! I still remember my dad yelling when he finally got tired of hearing Aerosmith on the 8-track player, "turn that crap off!". Recently on a family roadtrip, we did our I-pod "song rotation" where each person gets to pick a song. We used to do three songs each, but that appeared to be too painful to all of us. My daughter picked her latest Hannah Montana song, "Party In The USA". Yes, believe it or not, but I'm quoting Hannah:

"So I put my hands up. They're playing my song. The butterflies fly away. Noddin' my head like yeah! Movin' my hips like yeah! I put my hands up. They're playing my song. Ya know I'm gonna be okay. Yeah! It's a party in the USA! Yeah! It's a party in the USA!"
Hannah Montana

I recently told the story of the party and I still have to say, "it's been a lot of fun....definitely, one for the ages."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gold Gone Wild!

In the Shiny Coin post on July 1, 2009, I presented the "reverse head and shoulders" technical chart pattern illustrated below.

The chart below shows gold over the past 11 months. It has played out in textbook fashion. It has blast 13% out of the $1000/ounce psychological barrier. Is $1500/ounce right around the corner?

Happy Birthday to My Boys

My two boys have birthdays today! Happy 16th to PeyPey and happy 1st to Jackson. They do grow up too fast!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Lunatics, Malcontents, and the Narrow Minded

"After many years of direct and tangential involvement with gold markets, I believe I have a pretty good understanding of its historic role as money, as well as a speculative medium. There are many, however, including those -- maybe especially those -- involved in the world of high finance, who sniff their noses at the mere mention of the barbaric relic, relegating it to the realm of lunatics and malcontents. Yet when you think about it, to turn a blind eye to any asset class seems remarkably narrow-minded, if for no other reason than it ignores the fundamental truth that markets go up and markets go down, based upon the prevailing trade winds. There is a time for gold, just as there is a time for sugar, or stocks, or bonds. Further, to dismiss gold entirely in favor of financial assets, which most of the smart chaps tend to do, strikes me as the ultimate conceit given that so many of those financial assets are constructed out of nothing more tangible than academic theory. Simply, to believe in the latest fashionable derivative is to believe in the infallibility of humankind. I will take the other side of that trade at a snap of the fingers."

David Galland, Casey Research - November 10, 2009

"I ventured into new territory today and bought the XAU (gold/silver index). It should be another educating investment!"

Random Roving - January 17, 2002 (back in the pre-blog days)

Since 2000:
-Gold is up 285%
-S&P500 is down 20%

This cycle change has been highlighted in several prior posts about the Dow/Gold Ratio.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

All Out

"Well, we are out of money now"
President Obama, 5-22-09 - C-SPAN Interview

Faber On GDP Growth

"The latest GDP growth figures are a result of massive government interventions into the free market which inevitably resulted in extremely volatile economic and financial conditions." Marc Faber

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Feeding The Hog

"All policies target consumption. That is a mistake."
Marc Faber

Fools & Fanatics

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.”
Bertrand Russell

Monday, November 9, 2009

India's Golden Acquisition

From Bloomberg:
Nov. 3 (Bloomberg) -- "India, the world’s biggest gold consumer, bought 200 metric tons from the International Monetary Fund for $6.7 billion as central banks show increased interest in diversifying their holdings to protect against a slumping dollar.

The transaction, equivalent to 8 percent of world annual mine production, was the IMF’s first such
sale in nine years and propels India to the ninth-biggest government owner globally, according to figures from London-based research company GFMS Ltd. The country previously held 358 tons, the data show."

The entire article:

The Truth About Afghanistan

From F. William Engdahl:
"The second reason the US military remains in Afghanistan long after the world has forgotten even who the mysterious Osama bin Laden and his alleged Al Qaeda terrorist organization is or even if they exist, is as a pretext to build a permanent US military strike force with a series of permanent US airbases across Afghanistan. The aim of those bases is not to eradicate any Al Qaeda cells that may have survived in the caves of Tora Bora, or to eradicate a mythical “Taliban” which at this point according to eyewitness reports is made up overwhelmingly of local ordinary Afghanis fighting to rid their land once more of occupier armies as they did in the 11980’s against the Russians. The aim of the US bases in Afghanistan is to target and be able to strike at the two nations which today represent the only combined threat in the world today to an American global imperium, to America’s Full Spectrum Dominance as the Pentagon terms it."

"Afghanistan has historically been the heartland for the British-Russia Great Game, the struggle for control of Central Asia during the 19th and early 20th Centuries. British strategy then was to prevent Russia at all costs from controlling Afghanistan and thereby threatening Britain’s imperial crown jewel, India."

"Afghanistan is similarly regarded by Pentagon planners as highly strategic. It is a platform from which US military power could directly threaten Russia and China, as well as Iran and other oil-rich Middle East lands. Little has changed geopolitically over more than a century of wars."

The entire article:

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Colts & The Saints

My two favorite NFL teams are 8-0. Go Saints, Go Colts! What a Superbowl that would be. I don't want to jinx the Saints.............

"But remember I predict a Super Bowl victory for the Saints next season!" Random Roving - 11/7/08

"Saints win the Superbowl in 2010!!!" Random Roving - 10/1/08

The Tiny World of Gold

One of the astonishing findings that I discovered is how small the worldwide physical gold market is. The chart below provides great perspective.

SOURCE: The Long Wave Analyst

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Man Under The Hood

Just prior to the kickoff at our high school football game last night, the announcer asked for a moment of silence for the deceased and the families affected by the tragedy at Ft. Hood yesterday. I had yet to hear about the event and was clueless to the purpose of the moment.

God bless the souls of the lost, the wounded, and their families. Having experienced something similar in my youth, I can feel for these families. How quickly life can change. It's always perplexing when one decides to take the innocent down with them. These type of events have become way too commonplace these days. We're not numb to it, but we are no longer shocked by it.

This morning on the news, the fact that the murderer was Muslim caught my attention. I immediately thought "Team Red is going to have a field day with this one!". Thirty minutes later in the car commuting to the office, the radio already had Bubba calling in saying that the Houston Ship Channel had cargo boats pulling into port every night with terrorists hidden on board. He went on to say that there are hundreds of them huddled up in hotels planning their next event. Glenn and Sean are going to have a busy day on the radio!

Xenophobia continues to rise at an alarming rate. I would hope that someone would do the research to show that out of the past 20 similar events, none of the gunslingers were Muslims. We might be shocked to find out that many of these murderers claimed Jesus Christ as their Savior. I still predict that the next major event on U.S. soil will be done by a white man with bible in hand.

Zooming out to the larger view, it's troubling to continue to see these events play out in a downward trending mass social mood cycle. As the "tide lowers", some struggle emotionally for survival. Whether it's a lost job or already fragile relationships, the notch moves to the next lower level. As Warren Buffet once said, "When the tide lowers, we'll see who has been skinny dipping.". Of course Mr. Buffet was speaking about financial skinny dipping, but I believe his metaphor can be applied to ones emotional and psychological state.

Scanning the TV channels in the hotel room the other night, I caught the beginning of the movie "Mississippi Burning". This movie is so well done, the acting is superb, and it depicts this true story to a deep level. The fascinating aspect of the story for me is the fact that so many people, black and white, on both sides cowered because of fear. The blacks were too fearful to turn in the white supremacist murderers. The white individuals, who in their heart did not believe in "the cause", were too fearful to go against the majority. In the end, it's the aggressive whites against the brave blacks that make the final stand. Like all conflicts, losers are found on both sides.

As this cycle continues downward, it will be important to know what you believe in. You will be challenged to stand up for what you believe in whatever that is. When you see the cowardly hooded white man on horseback heading down the road, what are you going to do about it?

The Worst Case Scenario

"When governments are confronted with dreadful domestic problems and faced with lack of oil supply, a foreign enemy will materialize who just happens to have vast amounts of oil. Since the supply of oil will be just as restricted for China and other Far East countries, there is likely to be armed conflict. Once war begins, no one can predict which direction it will go. If it spirals out of control, nuclear annihilation is a possibility. The collapse of the U.S. dollar would result in millions of Americans being financially wiped out. Millions of angry Americans with no gasoline and no money might get unruly. The possibility of civil war will be high. Will the American military fire on American citizens? The ruling elite will order the military to attack the riff-raff, but they risk the military turning their guns on them. The greatest risk in this scenario is that Americans turn to a strong leader who assumes dictatorial power in the guise of safety and security." James Quinn

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Charity Is Alive and Well

This one is really amazing. Charity appears to be alive and well!
"Seven bicycles used by Lance Armstrong in his comeback season for July’s Tour de France fetched $1.3 million at an auction to raise money for his cancer foundation." Source: Bloomberg

The Definition of Insanity

Mr. Bernanke, did you know that.......
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”
Albert Einstein

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How About These Apples!

For those who took the gold recommendations and entered the new world of commodities, congratulations. Looks like the "shiny coin" is for real. $1000 appears to have been that magical psychological barrier.

"Most importantly, it is NOT TOO LATE to re-model your portfolio. Remember, some jumped in lifeboats off of the Titantic. Some boarded early and some late, but those that did, saved their lives."
Random Roving - March 27, 2009

The "reverse head & shoulders" is playing out according to the textbook:

A review of the Dow/Gold Ratio:

Remember what Mr. Faber said:

Another Dose of Non-Reality

"In the end, this stimulus, just like prior doses, will only worsen the condition it is meant to cure. When it wears off, the resulting recession will be even bigger than the one that everyone assumes has just ended. Until the impulse to fight recessions with government stimulus is quashed, genuine economic growth will never return. A string of ever-worsening recessions will eventually lead to what will be the next Great (Inflationary) Depression. But for now, enjoy the bubbly."
Peter Schiff

Entire article:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Follow The Leader

"Instill fear in a panicked public and they will follow their leader, regardless of how shallow the reasoning or how big the lie."
Gerald Celente

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Meaning Of This Moment

Ms. Noonan "nails it" once again. I continue to read her articles and believe that she has an amazing "pulse" on the mood of the masses. She doesn't use Prechter's "mass social mood" terminology, but she's talking about the same thing.

"The new economic statistics put growth at a healthy 3.5% for the third quarter. We should be dancing in the streets. No one is, because no one has any faith in these numbers. Waves of money are sloshing through the system, creating a false rising tide that lifts all boats for the moment. The tide will recede. The boats aren't rising, they're bobbing, and will settle. No one believes the bad time is over. No one thinks we're entering a new age of abundance. No one thinks it will ever be the same as before 2008. Economists, statisticians, forecasters and market specialists will argue about what the new numbers mean, but no one believes them, either. Among the things swept away in 2008 was public confidence in the experts. The experts missed the crash. They'll miss the meaning of this moment, too. The biggest threat to America right now is not government spending, huge deficits, foreign ownership of our debt, world terrorism, two wars, potential epidemics or nuts with nukes. The biggest long-term threat is that people are becoming and have become disheartened, that this condition is reaching critical mass, and that it afflicts most broadly and deeply those members of the American leadership class who are not in Washington, most especially those in business."

'When I see those in government, both locally and in Washington, spend and tax and come up each day with new ways to spend and tax—health care, cap and trade, etc.—I think: Why aren't they worried about the impact of what they're doing? Why do they think America is so strong it can take endless abuse? I think I know part of the answer. It is that they've never seen things go dark. They came of age during the great abundance, circa 1980-2008 (or 1950-2008, take your pick), and they don't have the habit of worry. They talk about their "concerns"—they're big on that word. But they're not really concerned. They think America is the goose that lays the golden egg. Why not? She laid it in their laps. She laid it in grandpa's lap. They don't feel anxious, because they never had anything to be anxious about. They grew up in an America surrounded by phrases—"strongest nation in the world," "indispensable nation," "unipolar power," "highest standard of living"—and are not bright enough, or serious enough, to imagine that they can damage that, hurt it, even fatally. We are governed at all levels by America's luckiest children, sons and daughters of the abundance, and they call themselves optimists but they're not optimists—they're unimaginative. They don't have faith, they've just never been foreclosed on. They are stupid and they are callous, and they don't mind it when people become disheartened. They don't even notice."
Peggy Noonan

The entire article:

Democrats on Geico

"The Democrats seem to be the kind of people that switch to Geico and lose money."
Jon Stewart - The Daily Show

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Last Call For Alcohol

After taking a roadtrip this past weekend to LSU with my kids, it brought back a lot of great college memories. Something about the smell of bourbon in Tiger Stadium triggered some flashbacks.

I compare our current economic times with a massive hangover. If there's one thing I learned after my 4.5 years at LSU, it is that a great party is always followed by a bad hangover. I would surmize that the "fun" and the "hangover" have a linear relationship. You can't just have the fun without the pain to follow. That's "natural law" of alcohol consumption.

We have to go back to 1982 to really understand when and how this party really started. Bartender Ronnie known by most bar patrons as "The Gipper" kicked the party off with a nice happy hour. Drinks were 2 for 1 and the party quickly kicked into high gear. Bar owner at the time, Mr. Volcker, loved the happy hour concept. Getting the patrons drunk early led to great revenues later in the evening.

When Ronnie announced that his time was up, the bar patrons asked for a bartender just like him. In steps George I who had all intentions of continuing the party. Unfortunately, the bar was sold just prior to Bush I starting his shift. Early in the bar ownership, Mr. Greenspan was more cautious with his drink specials. In 1987, a patron drove home drunk, crashed, and sued the bar.

Due to George's limitations, the bar patrons asked for a new bartender. In steps Bubba. He knew what the patrons liked. He restarted the cheap drinks and threw in a few dancing girls and free cigars. The party went into overdrive. Everyone was intoxicated and the drinks kept pouring and pouring. The law only allowed bartenders to serve for so many hours, so in steps new bartender George II.

At first, the patrons were cautious, but after seeing him beat up some unruly patrons, everyone got on board and the party continued. Bar fights started to breakout more often during George II's shift, but the alcohol kept flowing so the crowd continued to dance the night away. The bar ownership had changed one more time, but the new owner, Mr. Bernanke, promised that they were going to "party like it was 1999!". To deal with the fighting thugs, he just hired a bunch of massive bouncers to keep the crowd in line.

Some wise patrons decided that they had consumed enough for one night and they departed for home. The bar just didn't feel the same to them anymore. While they missed out on the wildest part of the night, they travelled home safely and quickly relaxed in the comfort of their home. George II, like Bubba, had to end his shift, but the remaining patrons were about to kick it up one more notch.

The new bartender, Barack, shows up and announces "tequila shots are 2 for 1 for the rest of the night!". Many hours into the partying, the patrons are so intoxicated they don't know right from left. Tequila is pouring everywhere and the bar is in high gear. Dancing and singing, the patrons don't want the night to end. Barry was so cool of a bartender, that he even drank beer with the patrons.

Without warning, the lights come on, and someone announces on the PA system, "last call for alcohol". There's a frenzy as everyone races to the bar to get one final round of tequila from Barack. Due to the limited time left, there is a lot of pushing and shoving. Everyone knows that all won't be able to sip one final round of tequila, salt, and lime. One patron yells, "one more body shot please!". The bar finally closes. Being daily savings time night, it was able to stay open one extra hour. One extra hour of tequila seemed like a great gift at 2 a.m.

At 3 a.m. the real partiers headed for their cars and the drunken ride home. Two were killed as they crashed head-on into a tree. Most were blessed to arrive home safely despite their inebriated condition. Sleep came and lasted well into the next morning.

As the bar patrons awoke, their head throbbed, and their muscles ached. Their mouths were so dry, they hardly could speak. They quickly questioned the decisions from the night before. One yelled "Why did we do those tequila shooters?". The other yelled back "Why did we do four rounds of those tequila shooters?". The third yelled "because it tasted good my friends!".

As the day wore on and the hangover continued, some started to get angry at the bartenders from the night prior. "They knew we were drunk. Why would they keep serving us?". Another stated "That last dude Barack should have never sold tequila shots 2 for 1. How could we pass on that?". "Yes, it's his fault one said to another. He just wanted to make the bar more money. He took advantage of us.".

Amazing to all, the same crew ventured into the same bar the next night. They didn't seek out the tequila, but they quickly shifted back into party mode. The weekend consisted of two nights, and they wanted to get their share.

So I ask, when will we hear "last call for alcohol!". Be proactive and head home from "the bar" early. Take some tylenol before bedtime and drink a lot of water! The party was fun and we all took part. Blaming the last bartender is cowardly and irresponsible. If you want to blame any, you have to blame them all. Remember, it all started at 2 for 1 happy hour. Don't blame the bartenders for your own decisions.

The Experts

I've been amused over the past few years when I hear everyone speak about global warming. It's amazing how many people with no training or real education on the subject have become well versed in the complex science of climatogy. Today we seem to have many new experts on our country's constitution, economics, and influenza. When I received this joke via email today, I thought, "yes, that sums it up for me!".

"A stranger was seated next to a little girl on the airplane. He turned to her and said, 'Let's talk. I've heard that flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger.' The little girl, who had just opened her book, closed it slowly and said to the stranger, 'What would you like to talk about?' 'Oh, I don't know,' said the stranger. 'How about nuclear power?' and he smiled. OK, ' she said. 'That could be an interesting topic. But let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff - grass. Yet, a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, and a horse produces clumps of dried grass. Why do you suppose that is?' The stranger, visibly surprised by the little girl's intelligence, thinks about it and says, 'Hmmm, I have no idea.' To which the little girl replies, 'Do you really feel qualified to discuss nuclear power when you don't know crap?"
Source: Unknown

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Slice, The Grieses, and The Taco

Legendary NFL quarterback was suspended this week for his "taco" comment. I really think that we, as Americans, are a little too sensitive. I personally believe that ethnic food jokes are good fun. For years, being a Louisianian, I've had my crawfish called fish bait. We know the Scots love their haggis. The Texans love their barbeque. The yanks love their brats. The Irish love their potatoes. Blacks love their fried chicken. The Asians love their rice. The Italians love their pasta. This morning in Morocco, the wealthy might splurge on monkey brains! I consider it all fair game.

Hearing the Griese story makes me segue into a story of my own. It's 1975 and I'm 12 years old. My father and I are golfing at a lodge in North Carolina. We're on the 10th tee, I'm lining up my shot, and my father says "Don't worry about Bob Griese on the driving range". Bob along with his future NFL quarterback son, Brian, are hitting balls on the driving range. Immediately my brain starts repeating "don't slice, don't slice, don't slice". Well sometimes the brain forgets the DON'T part. Wouldn't you know that I hit a long slice heading straight for the future NFL hall of famer. My father yells out a loud "fore" and the Griese clan scatters. My dad drives the cart to the edge of the range and says "go get your ball". So to add to the humiliation, I have to go out on the range and search for my white ball amongst the hundred striped balls with Bob Griese himself looking on.

So what's the moral to these two stories? One, lets be able to laugh and laugh at ourselves. Two, focus, focus, focus. I think that teaching "focus" was my dad's intention with the teebox exercise. In these confusing times, keep your focus. Tell your brain to "hit the ball straight" instead of "don't slice"!

So Sane That It Seems Insane

"The neo-cons who dominated the administration of George W. Bush seized the 9/11 terrorist attack as a once in a lifetime opportunity to change the world. In doing so, they have used fear, visions of mushroom clouds, and promises of protection and safety to convince the American people to give up their few remaining civil liberties. The Patriot Act was rammed down our throats in the months following 9/11. Anyone who would vote against such a bill was branded un-patriotic. It passed the Senate by a vote of 98 to 1. It passed the House by 357 to 66. Only 3 Republicans voted against The Patriot Act. Three Republicans had the courage to stand up for the Constitution. Ron Paul, from Texas, was one of them. His belief cannot be any clearer: 'Everything we have done in response to the 9-11 attacks, from the Patriot Act to the war in Iraq, has reduced freedom in America.' The role of government is to protect American citizens’ privacy, not violate it. Since 9/11 all American citizens are considered suspect until proven otherwise by some bureaucratic thug in the Department of Homeland Security. The Eye (think Mordor) of the U.S. government is focused inwards towards its own citizens under the guise of protecting us from unknown bogeymen terrorists. We are no safer, with less freedom, and buried under more debt. Mr. Paul’s reasoning and adherence to the Constitution of the United States is so sane that it seems insane to the criminals running our asylum (aka government) today. We live in a bizzaro world where doing the opposite of what we should be doing is considered the right thing to do. Liberty is not some antiquated concept in the ether of history."
James Quinn

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Unobserved Secret

"By a continuous process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. The process engages all of the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner that not one man in a million can diagnose." John Maynard Keynes - 1920

Monday, October 26, 2009

Gold, Diamonds, And Picassos

From Richard Russell, editor of Dow Theory Letters, in remarks posted on his website on 10-31-08:

"As for gold, we don't hold gold in the hope of making a killing. We hold gold because gold is our safety net. The economic world is composed of debt and leverage. Even the US dollar is a product of debt. Only gold is pure wealth with no debt against it. Gold can't go bankrupt since it represents pure wealth. By the same token, diamonds represent wealth and Picassos represent wealth. The difference is that if you want to sell a diamond or a Picasso painting, there is no posted price for either. To sell a diamond or a Picasso, there's no bid or ask price -- you have to find an interested buyer."

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Words From a Wise and Brilliant Man

“Bull markets are born on pessimism, grow on skepticism, mature on optimism and die on euphoria”
Sir John Templeton

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Chained To The Bleacher Seat

Chris Martenson just posted a really good article along with some excellent charts.

"One of my central contributions centers on the idea that it is our monetary system itself that is out of step with reality. Everything else we see around us economically is merely a symptom, while the cause of our current and future ills is the dependence of our monetary system on perpetual exponential growth. A profound and important set of conclusions immediately result from the acceptance of this argument."
Chris Martenson

The entire article:

Friday, October 23, 2009

Who's On First?

"The majority of Americans are oblivious to the Crisis that has already begun. They are distracted by their latest text message, shopping at the mall, worried about the next credit card bill, engrossed by the adventures of balloon boy, and trusting that their elected officials know what is best for them. What will blind side them is the depth and ferocity of the next stage in the Crisis. They will need to choose sides when the time comes."
James Quinn

The Golden Purchase

"However, if one considers that in 1932 and in 1980 one could indeed buy one Dow Jones Industrial Average with just one ounce of gold, then maybe my views are rather conservative. Possibly one will be able to buy, sometime in future, one Dow Jones with just half an ounce of gold!"
Marc Faber

Thursday, October 22, 2009

You Go Girl

This is a story that keeps getting better. Ms. Boyle beat my two favorites out.
Susan Boyle beats out U2, Springsteen to become Amazon’s biggest pre-sales seller of all time
By Niall O'Down
"I hate to say I told you so yet again – but Susan Boyle made me do it.
Take a bow one more time all the Susanites out there. You really deserve it. Amazingly, Susan Boyle just beat out
Bruce Springsteen, U2, the Dixie Chicks and Coldplay over at Amazon announced today that "I Dreamed a Dream" is the largest selling CD pre-order in the history of the music store."
Here is the list of the top 10 bestsellers:
Susan Boyle, "I Dreamed a Dream" (2009)
Norah Jones, "Not Too Late" (2007)
U2, "No Line on the Horizon" (2009)
Bruce Springsteen, "Magic" (2007)
Dixie Chicks, "Taking the Long Way" (2006)
Coldplay, "Viva La Vida" (2008)
U2, "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" (2004)
David Cook, "David Cook" (2008)
Diana Krall, "Quiet Nights" (2009)
Clay Aiken, "A Thousand Different Ways" (2006)