Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Shift In Respect

I might have jinxed Kent State with my recent post referencing their riot in the 60's. Last weekend over 60 students were arrested while they started fires during an evening of parties gone wild.

If you want to see mob mentality evolve over a few hours, take 7:38 to watch this video. A total lack of respect for authority. Yes, the easy explanation is drunk college kids, but I don't remember starting any fires or having police fire pellets at me in the 80's.

The Associate Press reported:
COLUMBUS, Ohio – "An end-of-year college block party spiraled out of control as police fired pellets and used pepper spray to break up hundreds of rioting students who sparked a string of street fires at Kent State University. Video posted on the Internet shows students hurling furniture and street signs into the flames on Saturday night as a SWAT team in riot gear converged on the crowd. Kent police said the party grew violent after one reveler was arrested and students began pelting officers with bottles, bricks and rocks. It was the first violent clash between Kent State students and police in years. In 1970, four Kent State students were killed by Ohio National Guard troops during a campus protest of the invasion of Cambodia. "They were burning pretty much everything," said police dispatcher Rosemarie Mosher. 'They were throwing stop signs on the fires, they were throwing chairs, couches, tree branches. Basically anything they could get their hands on.' "

The mood of the mob doesn't appear that different from the days directly following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. It doesn't look any different from Thailand over the past few weeks. The Associated Press reported:

PATTANI, Thailand - "At least 78 people were suffocated or crushed to death after being arrested and packed into police trucks after a riot in southern Thailand, officials said Tuesday. The announcement dramatically increased the death toll from the latest eruption of violence in Thailand’s Muslim-dominated south. Officials had earlier said that six people were shot to death during clashes Monday at a police station in Narathiwat province."

Viewing the video on the news showing the rioters attacking the vehicle containing the ousted prime minister was quite disturbing.

The angry and fearful mob behaves the same whether they're charged on beer or political distress.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Green Day Alignment

Take a moment to digest this one. It's non-partisan and really summaries the "big picture":

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Rick Warren On The Recession

Rick Warren was a guest on Larry King a couple of weeks ago and made an interesting comment regarding the recession. He said people tend to do three things when times get tough: go to bars, church, and the movies. They go to bars to connect with people, they go to church to enhance their faith, and they go to movies to escape the reality of it all.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Unwed Baby Boom

I read this on CNN and found the percentage to be staggering:

"Nearly 40 percent of babies born in the United States in 2007 were delivered by unwed mothers, according to data released last month by the National Center for Health Statistics. The 1.7 million out-of-wedlock births, of 4.3 million total births, marked a more than 25 percent jump from five years before. Statistics such as these, which include for the second year in a row a bump in teen pregnancies, after a 14-year decline."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Locked & Loaded

In Talkin' Bout A Revolution I mentioned that I knew a lot of people in the market for weapons. Time Magazine reports a disturbing trend:

Americans are afraid of this economy. As a result, they're getting locked and loaded. To wit: Jacquita Baker, a soft-spoken single mother from Kentwood, Mich., near Grand Rapids. She works as an administrative assistant at the Grand Rapids Urban League and is studying criminal justice at a local university. As of Monday, she's the proud owner of a shotgun. Why bear arms now? "The economy played a large part in my decision," says Baker, 27. "When people don't have jobs, they might go breaking into people's homes. I want to be safe in my home."

She's not alone. Three recent tragedies have thrust gun control back into the national discussion. On April 3, a Vietnamese immigrant in Binghamton, N.Y., shot and killed 13 people at an immigrant service center before taking his own life. On April 4, a Pittsburgh, Pa., man opened fire on three police officers responding to a domestic-disturbance call. All three officers died. That same day, a man from Graham, Wash., distraught that his wife was planning to leave him for another man, shot and killed his five children and then committed suicide. These horrible tragedies are already roiling gun-control advocates. But those who strive to see shotguns sidelined have to cope with another stinging reality: gun sales are soaring.

According to the SportsOneSource, a research firm that tracks the sporting-goods industry, firearms sales in large retail outlets are up 39% this year. Shops across the country are reporting ammunition shortages because stores can't meet demand for bullets. Data from the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which the industry uses as a proxy for overall firearms sales, are also revealing. From November 2008 through March 2009, FBI background checks, which are required every time a federally licensed gun dealer makes a sale, rose 29.3% over the same period a year earlier. In November alone, checks jumped 42%, to 1,529,635, the largest monthly total in the decade that the system has been in place. "Consumer demand is unprecedented," says Larry Keane, general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry.

Two factors are fueling the rise. The first is political. It's no coincidence that a record number of background checks occurred in November, the month Barack Obama was elected President and the Democrats took control of Congress. People grew anxious that the Obama Administration would ban semiautomatic weapons, so they rushed to buy guns before legislation could be passed. In a December survey by the research firm Southwick Associates, nearly 80% of active hunters and target shooters said they believed firearm purchases would "become more difficult" under the new Administration and a Democratic Congress. "Everybody is waiting for when the next foot is going to fall in taking away the right to bear arms," says Doug VanderWoude, owner of Silver Bullet Firearms in Wyoming, Mich., near Grand Rapids. He estimates that business is up 50% in 2009.

The last Democratic President, Bill Clinton, put into law an assault-weapons ban in 1994. President George W. Bush allowed that ban to expire, but last month Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder, said the Administration wanted to reinstate Clinton's ban. "The gun culture is hypersensitive," says Miles Hall, an Oklahoma City gun-shop owner. "If someone sneezes in Washington, we hear it and get nervous. There's a lot of anxiety out there."

A new market of gun buyers is emerging. Hall estimates that some 80% of his sales since the election have been to first- and second-time gun purchasers, many nervous that this may be their last chance. "Thus far, the Obama Administration has done what they set out to do," says Joe Keffer, who owns a shop in New Holland, Pa. "And therein lies the concern."

For gun-control advocates, this dynamic is bitterly ironic. Tough government talk against firearms, amplified by the Obama Administration's popularity, has actually helped spark a sales increase. It's yet another cost of good intentions.

The recession is another factor in the sales jump. Guns are expensive — Baker, for example, paid $200 for her shotgun — yet fear trumps the cost of a weapon for people worried that the economic crisis will lead to more crime. "Protection of the family, protection of the home, is utmost on people's minds," says Keffer. Many big cities have indeed seen crime tick higher during the downturn. But in the wrong psyche, this sentiment can carry deadly consequences. For example, the mother of the Pittsburgh man who shot and killed the police officers said her son had been stockpiling guns and ammunition "because he believed that as a result of the economic collapse, the police were no longer able to protect society."

Entire article:,8599,1889886,00.html?cnn=yes

Gun advocates stress that a few extreme cases shouldn't penalize law-abiding citizens who exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms. Roy Richmond, for example, just bought his first small handgun. He's the heat-packing pastor of a nondenominational church near Oklahoma City. He's carrying the weapon for protection. "Things are getting worse and worse," he says. "There needs to be some people out there with guns." With the weapons business booming, Richmond and his fellow firearms advocates are seeing their wish fulfilled.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Heartland Theory & The Middle East

I'm continually dumbfounded by the fact that people still believe that we invaded Iraq for these reasons:
-Sadaam Hussein was an evil person (he was "our boy" for many years; if we're humanitarians, we missed a few nice opportunities in Africa over the past two decades)
-Iraq was involved in 9/11 (most of the young men were from our favorite Middle Eastern country, Saudi Arabia; why didn't we invade them?)
-Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (so does N. Korea and Pakistan. Why didn't we invade them?)

The real reason is OIL. Yes, oil. Surprise surprise. On our annual beach trip in June 2004, we were having a lively discussion on the Middle East. The next day, the USA Today had the following article presenting the "bigger picture". Once again, history provides us with the answer. After reading the article, integrate the recent announcements by the Obama administration regarding Afghanistan. Remember, his campaign pledge was to exit.

In OMG and Holy Sh*t Obamaman I referred to the Pentagon meetings that President Obama was going to have and had. I envision at these meetings that the strategy described in the article below was outlined with the Middle East as the focus. I'm perplexed why the American people find it farfetched that our strategy all along was to invade Afghanistan and Iraq only to "set up shop" in the most important oil region in the world. If we are there, Russia and China have to "come through us". Remember, the French and the Germans had oil contracts with Iraq. That is why they opposed the invasion. Upon our imperialistic takeover, we immediately declared those contracts null and void. That might be the arrogance President Obama has referred to and apologized for in the past weeks.

'Heartland' strategy in Iraq: Right idea, if done the right way
By William Hamilton
Some critics like to say American foreign policy is discernible only in retrospect. Even so, such opinion could be taken as a left-handed compliment for a nation that has done rather well in defending itself and its allies in the previous century, and now, at the beginning of the 21st century. Though it might be too early to put a name to the Grand Strategy we are employing with regard to Iraq, just "being there" suggests that our strategy aligns quite nicely with the Heartland Theory put forth in 1904 by Sir Halford John Mackinder, one of the great military strategists of the 20th century. Here's how the Heartland Theory would apply to Iraq: Get a globe and put your finger on Iraq. Notice how your finger is resting right in the middle, the "heartland," of the Middle East, halfway between Egypt and Pakistan.

In 1904, British geographer Mackinder placed his finger on Eastern Europe and declared that to be the "pivot area" or "heartland" of Europe. He declared: "Who commands Eastern Europe commands the heartland; who rules the heartland commands the world island; and who rules the world-island commands the world." (By world-island, he meant the Euro-Asian-African landmass.)

Did anyone buy the Heartland Theory?
Yes. Napoleon understood it even before Mackinder was born. That is why he attacked czarist Russia. Moreover, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and three generations of the world's foremost military strategists embraced it as gospel and acted upon it. Even now, the United States is steering NATO's drive into Mackinder's Heartland with the addition to its ranks of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Just being there is enough.
The essential element in the Heartland Theory is simply "being there." Properly applied, being there means Iraqi oil revenue cannot go to al-Qaeda. Being there means the Iraqis can choose whatever government they want, as long as it does not support terrorism. Being there means interdicting the radical Islamists' lines of communication that run across the Middle East from Cairo to Islamabad, Pakistan.

But being there need not include the imposition of a Pax Americana on Iraq's cities.
The inevitable collateral damage of urban warfare creates a no-win situation for U.S. troops in a news-media world dominated by the hostile Al-Jazeera TV network and by a Western media that daily prove the dictum: Bad news will travel around the world before good news can tie its shoelaces. George Friedman, who runs a private intelligence service, suggests that the U.S.-led coalition can still be there while, at the same time, withdrawing its troops from Iraqi cities. By occupying a series of desert outposts, we retain the strategic advantage of being in the heartland of the Middle East. If al-Qaeda or the Iraqi insurgents want to fight our troops, they must expose themselves in the open desert, where their rusting, bomb-laden pickups are no match for our Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Our casualties would plummet. Theirs would skyrocket.

Bush administration's opportunity
But even as it becomes increasingly clear that our troops are being withdrawn from Iraq's troubled cities — especially now that governing power has been transferred to the Iraqis — the debate as to the wisdom of being there in the first place rages.

One way for the administration to answer its critics would be to explain the invasion of Iraq and our continued presence there in terms of the Heartland Theory. While that explanation might make a great deal of sense to armchair strategists and war-college graduates, it could be a difficult sell to a pop culture that cast more votes during the latest American Idol season than it cast in the most recent presidential election.

Meanwhile, the inescapable geographic truth is that we are occupying the heartland of the Middle East. If Mackinder's theory is correct, our mere presence there will have a major impact on how we fight, and whether we succeed, in the ongoing war on terrorism. But maintaining public support for our continued presence will require military tactics that reduce our casualties to more acceptable and sustainable levels.

If that can be achieved, the armchair strategists and the soccer moms may create the common ground of broad public support that will be essential to our successful occupation of a strategic base in the region's heartland.

William Hamilton is a syndicated columnist, retired Army officer and co-author of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy —two novels about terrorists targeting the United States. He lives in Colorado.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Peter Schiff Interviews Marc Faber

I highly recommend a reading of this interview. Marc Faber often makes guest appearances on Puplava's Financial Sense Newshour. He seems to always have a great pulse on the other 90% of the world.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Recession Comparison presented this interesting chart below comparing prior recessions. Will we be average, Great Depression-like, or a new record? I conclude that the data supports a record setter.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Shiny Happy People

In the past, I've mentioned the initiative and website, All Pro Dad. It provides some great resources and a weekly email message. This one was sent recently:

What happy people don't do
Happy people spend a lot of time socializing, going to church and reading, but they don't spend a lot of time watching television, a new study finds. Although people who describe themselves as happy enjoy watching television, it turns out to be the single activity they engage in less often than unhappy people, said John Robinson, a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland.The moral of the story? If you want to be happier, and have a happier family, then minimize television to perhaps an hour a day (or less) and make the most of your time together enjoying TV-free pursuits, like reading, playing outside, taking up a hobby or helping out at a soup kitchen.

More on the topic at:

Shiny Happy People - REM
Shiny happy people laughing
Meet me in the crowd
People people
Throw your love around
Love me love me
Take it into town
Happy happy
Put it in the ground
Where the flowers grow
Gold and silver shine
Shiny happy people holding hands
Shiny happy people laughing
Everyone around love them, love them
Put it in your hands
Take it take it
There's no time to cry
Happy happy
Put it in your heart
Where tomorrow shines
Gold and silver shine
Shiny happy people holding hands
Shiny happy people laughing

Frequent Flyer Forecast

This tip was published in 1995 by Robert Prechter in his book, "At The Crest of The Tidal Wave" .103

"The airlines issue credits to reward people who fly, order flowers, take a language course, stay in certain hotels, rent cars, call long distance, or even invest in a mutual fund. This frezied purchase of customer goodwill has been paid for with future obligation, so it is simply debt, a huge debt. Already, nonpaying flyers account for 7% of the seats filled on the average flight by major carriers. When the depression arrives, that percentage will soar. The industry's debt to its best customers is now huge, and its ability to pay it is negligible. The problem is just beginning to show up in airline's policies of further restricting the time and seats available for certificate redemption. This is only the hint of the default that is coming. Any renewed contraction in the economy will devestate the transportation industry. If you have accumulated any frequent flyer miles, you should use them up as fast as you can."

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Inevitability of The Economic Cycle

"The psychological foundation of liquidity is confidence. We cannot stress this point strongly enough. When investors are optimistic, confidence remains high and liquidity expands. When this optimism goes away, the spigot will run dry. The psychological foundation for the asset boom, a rise in social mood, has slipped away. As confidence continues to wane, the resulting destruction mounts. It may seem strange that even as the fundamental changes dig in, people cannot see what is before their very eyes. Of course, this is how the progression toward a pessimistic extreme has to happen. The untold story of 2008 is that it is just the opening salvo."
Robert Prechter

Friday, April 17, 2009

Here Come The Ladies

This was reported today in Houston by KPRC. It looks like the ladies have joined the party!
Which way is the trend?

FBI Concerned About Bank Robberies
April 17, 2009
HOUSTON -- Bank robberies in the Houston area are on the rise, and they're becoming more violent, officials told KPRC Local 2 Thursday.

A man robbed Wachovia bank on Smith Street near downtown Houston on Wednesday.
One could say he was caught red-handed, but most of the red was in his pants, where a dye pack exploded. Instead of a smooth getaway, he ran into a man. He requested KPRC Local 2 not use his name. "I chased him with my car … got to a stopping point where I could point the gun and the car at him," he said. "I drew the gun and he started emptying the money from his pants area."

The man said he was fed up when he saw the man. "(That was the) second time that bank got robbed," he said. "Those are my friends in the bank." Police arrived and the man was arrested.
Houston FBI agents said they are very concerned. There are more bank robberies in the area than normal, and they're becoming increasingly violent, officials said.

"We've had robbers that have gone into banks that have assaulted tellers during the bank robberies," spokeswoman Shauna Dunlap said. "They've assaulted security guards that are in the bank. They're fired gunshots inside the bank."

Investigators have dubbed one group of robbers the "careless crew" because of the way they wield assault rifles inside grocery stores. The group is believed to be responsible for at least eight robberies.

"They go in armed with handguns and also assault rifles," Dunlap said. "They fire gunshots inside the banks and also one time in the parking lot on the way out the bank." Detectives said one man, dubbed the "point-blank bandit," is wanted in at least three bank robberies.

"He's basically going in armed and he puts the gun right up to the side of the tellers' head during the bank robbery," Dunlap said. "It's very concerning, very dangerous and we're very thankful that no one's been hurt." Investigators said more women are robbing banks. Two have been arrested in the last two weeks.

Malcolm Gladwell on Outliers

Malcolm Gladwell recently published his third book, "Outliers". This one, like his first two "Tipping Point" and "Blink", is really intriguing. He uses a unique approach of taking universal concepts and weaving them through what appears to be unrelated and diverse topics.

"Outliers" is about human potential and the evolution to success. Here's the author presenting the concepts of his latest book:

Early Signs of Change - The Premature Evacuation

As I've mentioned in the past, I exited this market originally in May, 2000.....what I call my "premature evacuation"! I dove back in October-2007 with a commodites focus (oil/natural gas/gold/silver). The gold/silver half has recovered, but the energy piece is still hurting.

This blog really started in that time period via email with my inner circle of friends. As the Dotcom meltdown evolved, things didn't smell right. My friend Mark and I engaged in some great discussions regarding these topics.

-----Original Message-----
From: Kirk Barrell []
Sent: Tuesday, July 23, 2002 8:38 AM
To: Mark R.
Subject: RE: markets

Implosion is the only word I think of when I read the news in the morning. At this point, even trailing earnings are in question due to the bogus numbers. So do we even know what the PE's are? I told Michelle this weekend, it's kind of like it used to be in the airport when you arrived early and you sat there and watched all of the "latecomers" running to their flights. My advice is to sit back and watch things unfold. If I had some cash outside of retirement accounts I would be shorting and buying gold (the real stuff).

It's amazing to watch all of the witchhunts going on....CEO's, accountants, priests, American Talibans, baseball players on sterioids, and poor Martha Stewart! Is Oprah next!?!?! My greatest concern is real estate. I think that we bought our house close to the top. I like to think (or hope) that our area has a good foundation, but the first tremor could be the HP cuts this week.

Long term, I really like the oil patch. Supply/demand and the Middle East bode well for this sector. In the short term, OPEC could move into crisis with Venezuela's quoto cheating. Lower oil prices would play into Prechter's deflation argument.

Prechter writes a lot about "change in mood". I'm seeing it on TV at night and in every day conversations. The news about Morocco and Spain fighting over a barren, uninhabited, goat-populated island "took the cake" last week!!

For now, my thoughts are that "cash is king". Our mentality shift now might have to be that 2% is better than -20%. has some great information posted on a daily basis.
Keep me posted on your ideas,

From: Kirk Barrell
To: Mark R
Sent: Sunday, August 18, 2002 9:22 AM
Subject: RE: Big banks are next on list of free-falling stocks

I with you...Jim Puplava posted a great article on the banks last year...especially focused on those with large derivative positions. JPM Chase has an incredible position. My two neighbors work for Chase and I saw them at the park last weekend. They said that things were not good.
The wild ride continues!!


From: Kirk Barrell []
Sent: Tuesday, January 14, 2003 8:40 AM
To: Kirk A. Barrell
Subject: Bedtime reading

a interesting new article at
..........a snipit.....................
Given all of these uncertainties, where should one invest this year? I believe the "Next Big Thing" is going to be in "things" such as commodities. The big winners in this decade are going to be gold, silver, and energy. Other commodities from sugar, coffee, cocoa and grains, to other soft goods will also be winners. Commodity prices will rise because of two trends: a declining US dollar and rising populations and industrialization of developing economies.

The time for paper is over and the rise of "things" has just begun. Another trend that is taking place is what Marc Faber calls the reemergence of the emerging economies. Economic power is moving from the West to the East and this trend is irreversible.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Summary of the Tea Parties

I was surprised to received an email Tuesday evening inviting me to a tea party in my neighborhood. It was planned to occur at a local park. My understanding is that the parties were planned to protest taxes and the bailout. T.E.A. stands for "taxed enough already". A brief viewing on TV last night of these nation-wide events to me appeared to be hundreds of Team Red members that are still grieving over their election loss. Maybe they should have been SGR Parties....Sour Grapes Republicans.

If you've read my posts in the past, you know that I'm very opposed to any bailouts. If your company took too much risk, than it must suffer the consequences. I believe that the statement "it is too big to fail" is ludicrous. No company is too big to fail. No country is too big to fail. If you owe $100, but have $50, than you're broke. If you have $30,000,000, but owe $60,000,000, then you are broke. No difference. I've made the dying patient analogy already. Contraction is inevitable, but don't drag it out. Let it occur naturally. The massive bailout will now mimic the great Japanese contraction (1990 to present).

I do find it very perplexing that Team Red is now protesting spending. Where were they during the entire Iraq affair? Is spending billions on the imperialistic invasion of a country okay? Why didn't they have tea parties than? If they are opposed to government intervention and liberty, than where were these patriots during the approval of the Patriot Act? Someone please answer these questions for me.

I wrote a big check to the IRS yesterday....very painful. I'm sure many others did to. I consider it my American obligation. It's not patriotic, it's a requirement (some do debate this). I've also stated prior that Buffet's perspective on taxes is a fair one. If you want to feel real tax pain, move to Norway. Why is Team Red protesting taxes now? Why didn't they protest taxes during the Bush administration? The reality is that if McCain won, he would be raising taxes too. How else are we going to pay for all of our obligations that EXISTED PRIOR TO OBAMA?

I constantly recommend to my favorite Republican that we should all "fly our helicopters" above all of this political chatter and focus on the facts, the data. Despite this recent massive spending spree, we already had major debt obligations. Our children and grandchildren were ALREADY burdened with this, so if tax burden is your issue, I would have expected you to be throwing tea parties a long time ago. Our massive debt is NOT a new issue or fact. Increased taxes is a reality no matter what team you cheer for. Team Red must recall that The Gipper was one of the biggest spenders of all time.

Peak of The Mega-Stadium??

I've made a few posts about the mega-structures in Dubai recently, but we might have our own metric to measure here in the U.S.A.....the megastadium. The New York Yankees and ego-maniac George Steinbrenner have just unveiled the new home to the team. USA Today had this to say "The new Yankee Stadium and the Mets' Citi Field, costing a combined $2.3 billion, open the gates for exhibition games Friday and Saturday, ushering a new level of luxury to the nation's pastime. construction costs were assumed by the two teams, but the projects — discussed for a decade and officially unveiled in mid-2005 — were aided by several hundred million dollars in public financing, tax breaks and infrastructure improvements. That made the deals controversial in a city struggling to fund schools and mass transit amid the recession."

The Examiner reports this about the Colts new stadium in Indianapolis:
"The entity that operates Lucas Oil Stadium – the Capital Improvement Board – is seeking a $47 million bailout bill to operate the stadium and the Indiana Pacers' home, Conseco Fieldhouse. It has become a major issue in Indianapolis, with parties from all sides weighing in. The comment that has gotten the most national play came Friday from CIB President Bob Grand while speaking to 6News' Norman Cox: 'If you want me to give you worst-cases, I mean the worst-case scenario is we could be out of money and the facilities would be, arguably, closed.' I get the feeling reading that quote that Grand was simply trying to answer a question as honestly as he could. What happened, of course, is it has spawned a slew of stories in the blogosphere that Lucas Oil Stadium – a $720 million facility that opened last summer – could close."

Steinbrenner's kindrid spirit, Jerry Jones, just built the new home for the Cowboys for a cool $1.3 billion. Are you ready for some footbaaaaaaalllllllll?

Robert Prechter presents a theory that mankind builds large structures at the peak of positive mass social mood and that markets, the barometers, align with this trend. Keep your eyes on the sky for the next big thing.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Slope of The Sand Pile

In my college geology class we learned about the angle of repose of a sand pile. I often run this experiment while sitting on the beach. Build a pile of dry sand into a cone shape and at this magical point, the sand can no longer build up and it cascades down the side of the pile or cone. The physics behind it relates to the angle and slope of the cone with relation to the ground. A limit exists regarding the slope of the pile.

As with sand piles, the charts of stocks, market indices, and even species population curves reveal that an angle of repose appears to exist elsewhere in nature. Maybe this is some sort of natural law or a limit to growth.

The famous market crash of 1929 charted below illustrates an unsustainable slope.

The great Japanese crash or the "Lost Decade" as it's been titled. Twenty eight years and they're still in recovery. Remember when we wanted to be "everything Japanese"? Remember the Total Quality Management craze?

We all were able to experience the Tech Boom and the great ending orchestrated by the Dotcom mania. What a finale' it was. How about the slope on that curve?

The most recent is the Dow Jones Industrial Average charted below. The upward slope is not that steep because the real slope occurred up to mid-1999. The 2000-2008 slope was artificially stimulated by the money printing of the Federal Reserve.

The oil industry is still realing from the dramatic price crash of 2008. A steep advance and steep decline create beautiful symmetry.

And we can't forget everyone's favorite, Enron. While a few bad characters were the manipulators, many others were part of the process.
I presented the chart below a few weeks ago. It aligns investor psychology with the process that has played out many times over the past thousands of years. Don't forget the great Tulip Mania in Holland. It took place in 1637. The human limbic system has a long history of mania behavior.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Onion Peels In Argentina

The Onion continues to peel away around the world and Chapmans' vision becomes reality. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so a video must be worth ten thousand words. Here's a visual of Argentina:

There's eleven more parts to the documentary if it informed, shocked, changed, or inspired you.

You say it can't happen here. Don't forget:

Kent State, Ohio - 1968

Civil Rights Movement - 1960's

The New Tea Party - 2009

Hurricane Katrina Looters - New Orleans

Greece - December 2008

Myanmar -2007

Bangkok - April 2009
Suburban Paris - 2005, 2007

"In the U.S., the Tea Parties mentioned above were rather like, well, tea parties. In France, the demonstrations are large, but the tone is not yet violent. According to Time Magazine, millions marched in that country but the disruption was a "comparatively modest nuisance.' In London, the "Financial Fools Day' protest against the G-20 was much larger and more focused than the April 2000 demonstration agains the IMF. And this time things turned ugly fast: 'At first, jazz bands, jugglers and drummers lent a carnival atmosphere to the gathering, but within an hour, anger at the collapse of the financial system turned to violence.' But the protest is a long way from the violent bear market finale that Elliott Wave Financial Forecast was referring to in 2000. At this point, the movement is just 'a vague attack on consumerism, coupled with anti-capitalist rhetoric,' which Daniel Finkelstein of the London Times points out is 'a total dead end,' revolution-wise. When the bottom is at hand or already in place, the rage will be greater and more widespread, and there will be no question what the rebellion is about."
Robert Prechter - Elliott Wave Financial Forecast - April 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Weekend At Augusta National

What a finale at Augusta National yesterday. The final hour proved how powerful psychology is. These phenomenal professional athletes are all subject to pressure and head games. I can't say that I've seen that much meltdown in a professional championship by so many participants. To see Tiger Woods hit a tree was bizarre....I know that shot!

I realized today that over the past year, I've told a great story many times and maybe today is the day to document it in cyberspace.

In February 2007 my wife and I were the invited guests of her cousin and husband to spend a weekend at Augusta National. The weekend was a wedding gift from a former Senator to my wife's cousin and husband. We were the fortunate ones invited to tag along. We flew into Atlanta on Saturday morning and arrived to the amazing weather forecast of snow! Yes, snow in Atlanta....not the norm. During our drive to Augusta, the snow turned to rain. We arrived at the club and were escorted to the Eisenhower cottage where we were to stay for the night. We were greeted by the Senator and his wife and another couple that were also the "fortunate guests". The weather cancelled our Saturday plans for playing 18 and the par 3 course. Lunch at the clubhouse wasn't a bad Plan B. We walked the grounds and took in the famous views.

The Eisenhower cottage was built after President Eisenhower left Washington D.C. The club believed that the president's love for the game would be great "p.r." for Augusta. The cottage was very spacious and had multiple bedrooms upstairs. The most impressive part was the pictures of the famous people that have stayed in the cottage. The most memorable picture was that of Reagan and Shultz in their robes sitting on the sofa making the decision at 2 a.m. on whether to join Thatcher in her quest to invade The Falklands.

That afternoon we had drinks in the cottage and discussed various topics. The Senator had mentioned that he missed the wedding due to a family reunion at Jekyll Island. The name quickly caught my attention, and I asked the Senator if he was familiar with the famous meeting at Jekyll Island where the Federal Reserve was conceived. He said "no".

Saturday evening we toured the clubhouse including the locker room, Crows Nest, wine cellar, and sitting areas. The most impressive part of the locker room was the name tags on the lockers. It was the "who's who" of corporate "male" America. I tried to imagine what it might be like to have a room full in there after playing 18. Warren and Bill playing bridge in the corner. Michael J. settling up bets from his round. The Crows Nest, where the amateurs bunk, was small and cozy. I can only imagine what their nights are like up there above the club preparing for the round of their life. The wine cellar below the dining room was really interesting. It was very very basic, but the handwritten names on the shelves that might go back many decades was cool. The wine steward pulled a $10,000 bottle off of the shelf to let us know what one looked like!

Dinner was very nice. The dining room was lightly occupied due to the weather. Some other former senators were dining a few tables over. I can't remember what I ate, but I do remember how well behaved I was. It was probably to most focused I was on my own behavior since my younger years. We engaged in a range of discussions from politics, golf, peak oil, and the history of Augusta National. The Senator is involved in an initiative that is seeking nuclear disarmament worldwide. I asked him who the most dangerous country was and he quickly said "Pakistan". After dinner, we relaxed in the cottage. Then off to sleep in our single beds.

We started Sunday morning with coffee in the cottage and read the paper. The Senator was reading the New York Times and he yelled out "who was talking about that meeting at Jekyll Island yesterday?". I said "it was me". He says, "it's all right here". The NYT had a special section on Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve Chairman and it chronicled the entire meeting at Jekyll Island.

Breakfast in the dining room was great. It was one of the few weekends during the year when guests are allowed. There were a few other groups with guests as ourselves. The main challenge of the morning was the temperature. It was 28 degrees and our 8 a.m. tee time was in jeopardy as long as the temperature was below 34 degrees.

We went to the pro shop and made some investments in Augusta gear. The pro indicated that we might not tee off for some time. We went back to the cottage and waited for the temperature to rise. At 11:30, we were allowed to head to the practice range. Having played twice in the year prior, I knew the range would only expose my many weaknesses. I turned around, and the caddies came marching towards the range. Larry, my caddy, walked up and introduced himself. I quickly expressed my condolences for him having been paired with me. He watched my swing and quickly concluded that he was going to have to work hard in the hours ahead. I asked him who famous that he'd caddied for lately and he said "Clint Eastwood and Dan Marino". Uh oh.

The pro finally gave the go ahead to tee off. We walked to the first tee with caddies in tow. The pro walked out to watch the tee off. The Senator announced that we would match up in pairs per six holes. He asked me my handicap, and I said "20". John, our host, said "22". The other John says "14". The Senator than states that he and I will pair for the first six holes. As I walk to hit my first shot, I kept thinking "just hit this one straight". The pro, my foursome, and the four caddies were the pressure cooker. The tee shot went off fine down on the right side of the fairway. Relief! My second shot lands just next to the green and I'm thinking "this isn't that hard". But, as I prepared my chip, all of the warnings I had heard before heading to Augusta were "beware of the greens...they're like glass". Well, I chipped on the green as I would on a Houston course and the ball rolled off the back of the green. I then repeated the shot and chip on and rolled off the front of the green. My third chip was more proactive and I just chipped over the green! By this time, my partner, the Senator, was already putting out and signaled that our team has recorded a better score. The next few holes are a blur. The recovery from the first green took some time. The deep bunker on #4 took three shots to get out. That didn't help. By 7 or 8, a tempo of some sort for this hacker began to develop.

With the front nine complete, the back nine promised some more respectible golf. Amen Corner brought some great memories and fortune. Hole #12, the famous par 3, is beautiful. The Hogan Bridge is picturesque and creates great ambiance in the shady corner. We took a photo of the foursome by the bridge. I don't recall my club choice, but it was finally the right one and my tee shot landed 8 feet from the pin. Larry, my caddy, suddenly became jazzed. He said "we can make this!". Thank God for the "we". The greens are so challenging, but Larry would put a club on the green and say "this is the hole". Many times, I wanted to question the placement, but he has been caddying at Augusta for 40 years. I went with his line and sunk the birdie putt! Larry gave me my first high five.

13 and 14 were respectable. I duffed my tee shot on 15. The Senator walks by me and says "you can still do okay from here". I at first thought that he was heckling me, but Larry said, "we're okay". He was starting to act like we were now in a competition. I was teamed up with John now and we were making some progress. Larry pulled my 5 wood out and said "this is your club". He said "just hit it over the hill". I hit probably my best shot of the day. We walk over the hill and everyone's balls were in the same vicinity. It was probably 200 to reach the green over the water. John, our host, says to his friend John "you didn't come to Augusta to lay up did you?". John quickly replied "yes, I did". John hit a nice lay up in front of the water. I was deciding my fate when Larry says "I have your club". He hadn't put the 5 wood up yet. He said "hit it just like you hit the last one". I told him "Larry I never hit the same shot two times in a row!". He said "just keep your head down". Well, I hit the best shot of my hacker career. Larry excitedly yells "it's going in the hole!". The ball plugs on the back of the green ten feet above the pin. My second high five from Larry. I looked at Larry and said "can Marino do that?" and he said "all day long". So much for euphoria.

Hole #16, known as "Redbud", has the famous "two level" green. I'm in the right bunker preparing my shot. Larry yells "what are you doing?". I look over and he says "don't you know about this green?". No, Larry I'm a hacker. He walks up the green and stands 20' to the right of the pin and says "hit it here". Wow, I would have never figured that one out. I get out of the trap in one, but not down on the lower level. Two putts and we'll take a 5. My only thought on the 17th tee was to not hit the famous Eisenhower Tree that lurks on the left side. Eisenhower hated the tree and begged the club to remove it. I went right instead.

Hole 18 has tight trees on both sides of the fairway. I went with the safe 5 wood and hit a nice tee shot down the middle. The approach shot lands on the green. Relief. I'm lining my putt up for the birdie and the Senator says "Kirk, if you sink this one, I'm going to question that handicap you gave me a few hours ago". He obviously forgot about our first six holes together as teammates! Well, he successfully got in my head, and I very happily ended with a par on 18. After watching the tournament today, I'm even more estatic about that par. My wife was waiting up at the clubhouse watching us putt out. She said "how did you do" and I said "many highs and lows!". A great day it was.

I hoped for one memorable hole and ended up with 3 so I was elated. The bad holes quickly fade from memory (except maybe the three chips on #1 or the bunker on #4). Playing at 35 degrees didn't seem to matter either. What a memory and unique opportunity. To this day, I tell the story with great guilt because there are so many golfers that deserve the opportunity more than I did.

The picturesque 12th green with the Hogan Bridge.

The practice range.

The clubhouse.

The drive into the club.

Me and the Senator at the 12th.

Me and my mentor, Larry.

Larry lining up the birdie putt at 12.

The Eisenhower Cottage

The back porch at the clubhouse.

John and the Senator at the 12th tee.

Ice at Augusta National.

Looking back from the 15th green.

John on the 16th tee.

Me at the 17th tee. Note the Eisenhower Tree out to the left.

The 18th Hole

Us and the Senator and his wife

Our hosts and hostesses

Pirate Update

Well the pirates finally captured a U.S. ship so the media has awoken to the crisis....only five months late!
In the past I've made some posts regarding pirate events and justice delivered. Here's the latest update. It appears that those pirates are winning. Thank God, our Navy Seals had a victory this weekend.

NAIROBI (AFP) — Somali pirates seized ships from France, Britain, Germany, Taiwan and Yemen, defying world naval powers by prowling further out in the Indian Ocean to target victims. Ransom-hunting pirates equipped with skiffs, guns and grapnels took five ships in 48 hours, the two latest on Monday targeting a British cargo ship and a Taiwanese fishing vessel.
At least 17 ships and more than 250 hostages are now in pirate hands.

CNN's pirate activity map:


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Happy Easter to all!
Despite a massive rain storm while exiting church, we had a great day. Our 12 and 15 year old humored us with an Easter egg hunt this morning to kickoff a fun day.

I'll wrap up the week with some final words from the late Father David Kirk:

"If you want to find God, really find God, go to where people are suffering. There, if you can open your eyes to the needs of others, and let your heart respond to're in for a great adventure! May this Sunday be a day for beginning to DO the word of God and not simple hear the word of God. Amen."

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Father David Kirk On Just War

Being Holy Week, I'll take a breather from the crazy events in the world and present some writings from Father David Kirk.

"In the first 300 years of Christianity, Christians fought adversaries only with the Sword of the Spirit. When later the Christian communities of the Roman Empire seemed threatened by invading vandals and barbarians, a bishop, Augustine, had to meditate on which way to go: continue the churches teaching to 'love the enemy,' to do violence to no enemy, to not join the army? Or to find a way whereby Christian could take up the sword and fight the vandals?"

"Fear covered the empire like a black cloud. The problem of how to love your enemies and do violence to them led to his theory of a just war. He took as his example how Israel had been defended by armies. If God himself can start a war, it had to be a just one....the Kingdom of the Spirit had once more been reduced to the lowest common denominator. Of course, we do fear. All have fears within us. There are a lot of things which are part of reality, a fear to be lived with - subways, sickness, old age, private betrayals. I'm certainly scared of a lot of things inside me - lust...jealousy...anger, all biding their time in me, perhaps waiting for a weak moment. Scared of the possibility I might not have the stuff within me to follow the direction I have set for myself. How impossible the goals of truth and love sometimes seem to be."
Father David Kirk

For more on Father David Kirk:

Friday, April 10, 2009

Father David Kirk On Fear

Being Holy Week, I'll take a breather from the crazy events in the world and present some writings from Father David Kirk.


"We live in difficult days. Reagan, Gorbachev. We're told to fear travel. To fear to walk anywhwer. To fear muggers and looters, autos and storms. To fear the Russians, the Communists, the Nicaraguans."

"Fear is a lifestyle; In New York City, we're like a knot of animals, threatened, surrounded. And it its said" only those who fear mightily and react violently will survive. Ethics of the shotgun. To give up all our fears is to give up our humanity. They say: fear guarantees survival. Put before us is the enemy. Bob Dylan: 'Making us think we have something to defeat.' "

"But to all this, through all this the Gospel maintains: 'There is no need to be afraid, my little community, for your Father is to give you the Kingdom.' A promis, nothing more, is the only thing we seem to have. Nothing else. Is that sufficient to help us survive, for us to hang on to, to make us motivated enough to continue?"

"For Abraham, it was. Because of such a promise Abraham left his home and went out and lived in a tent, looking for a city built by God. He never saw that city, he never arrived at it, his whole life was full of complications; even when he had a son, he was asked to sacrifice him to God. But he kept on because of his dream, because of that promise, because of that town, because of something he never fully saw realized in his life."

"Fear clogs. 'To he who is afraid everything rustles.' St. Maximos"

"Faith liberates. Cruelty and fear always walk together."

Father David Kirk (written in the 80's)

For more on Father David Kirk:

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Come On Up For The Rising

Well I survived my second Springsteen concert in four days. When I told my buddy Jeff that I was going to a 2nd show, he looked at me funny. I said,"what's wrong, do you have a problem with a 45 year old man chasing a 58 year old rock star around the state of Texas?". He quickly said "yes". Well, Jeff it sure was a blast....both shows. Last night it was my wife, my 19 year E Street buddy Dave, my 29 year E Street buddy "Big E", Claybee, Mark, and Chris from Jersey....a great mix. Big E and I attended our first Springsteen concert together in 1980. $8.50 for a ticket that's inflation!

The show had the same framework as Austin's, but there were some great tradeouts: No Surrender (his farewell to Miami Steve), Ghost of Tom Joad (knew he had to appear sometime), It's Hard To Be A Saint In the City (oldie but goodie), Cadillac Ranch (a Texas favorite), and Rosalita (36 years old and still giving).

The Rising had some great appeal last night. This was Bruce's response to 9/11. In an article he stated that his vision of The Twin Towers was the fireman climbing the stairs as if they were ascending into Heaven. He equated it to the Ascension of Christ. Now that's an Easter song my friends.

Cant see nothin in front of me
Cant see nothin coming up behind
I make my way through this darkness
I cant feel nothing but this chain that binds me
Lost track of how far Ive gone
How far Ive gone, how high Ive climbed
On my backs a sixty pound stone
On my shoulder a half mile of line
Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight
Left the house this morning
Bells ringing filled the air
Wearin the cross of my calling
On wheels of fire I come rollin down here
Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight
Li,li, li,li,li,li, li,li,li
Theres spirits above and behind me
Faces gone black, eyes burnin bright
May their precious blood bind me Lord, as I stand before your fiery light
Li,li, li,li,li,li, li,li,liI
see you mary in the garden
In the garden of a thousand sighs
Theres holy pictures of our children
Dancin in a sky filled with light
May I feel your arms around me
May I feel your blood mix with mine
A dream of life comes to me
Like a catfish dancin on the end of my line
Sky of blackness and sorrow ( a dream of life)
Sky of love, sky of tears (a dream of life)
Sky of glory and sadness ( a dream of life)
Sky of mercy, sky of fear ( a dream of life)
Sky of memory and shadow ( a dream of life)
Your burnin wind fills my arms tonight
Sky of longing and emptiness (a dream of life)
Sky of fullness, sky of blessed life
Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight

Father David Kirk On Hope

Being Holy Week, I'll take a breather from the crazy events in the world and present some writings from Father David Kirk.

"And they look at me and say: 'How can you sit there so peaceful when everything seems so bad?' Because I can see beyond the reality. Yes there are debts, yes we are getting sued, yes we don't know how to get out of this financial mess. But my perception leads me to hope. And when you can have a positive perception it unlocks and releases hidden possibilities and you look for love. And when love comes, it comes through God. When there is a lot of love in this world, there is a lot of God in the world. So choose to believe in the God of love...Get on board the train!"
Father David Kirk (written in the 80's)

For more on Father David Kirk:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Father David Kirk On The Prodigal Son

Being Holy Week, I'll take a breather from the crazy events in the world and present some writings from Father David Kirk.

"This Gospel is about forgiveness, and it is about conversion, which means to change attitude and heart, but also conversion which brings us back to reality. The Gospel also speaks about someone "dead" and "ruined": he lost his possessions, because he squandered his wealth; he lost his worth, a son of a rich man living like a pig now; he lost his power, because no one receives him with honor. And in a negative way, he found his freedom because he lost the things that enslave, all these externals.

Even though he was God, Jesus emptied Himself and became a poor man; some of these things, power, so-called worth, possessions, should be renounced. There is danger to the young man in all the things he was given. St. Paul says: "those things I used to consider gain I now reappraise as loss in the light of Christ."
Father David Kirk

For more on Father David Kirk:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Father David Kirk On The Compass

Being Holy Week, I'll take a breather from the crazy events in the world and present some writings from Father David Kirk.

"The Gospel tells us in a thousand ways that the important thing is not to "win". But to arrive at the discovery of the Other in God and in our brothers and sisters. It is not a choice between living a "ruined" life and an infantile life; it is a matter of, day in and out, maturing through the options that we must choose, and through the love which brings security to others."

"In the context of the Gospel, God does not appear like the father who locks the door so that the children cannot go out at night. Rather, God is like a light on our way, like a compass guiding us in our options, someone who does not abandon us in the risky exercise of freedom, and helps us refashion events that seem headed toward disaster. This, at least, has been my experience of freedom on the road to Emmaus."

For more on Father David Kirk:

Monday, April 6, 2009

Is Anyone Alive Out There???

Every once in a while you have one of those great days that you wish that you could wrap up and relive again some time in the future. Sunday was one of those great days. I started the day at an early Palm Sunday Mass. It's one of my favorites because it always calls for crowd participation. We, the parishioners, got to play the voice of the angry mob. The great story weaves very diverse themes of love, deceit, prophecy, disapointment, loyalty, cowardness, bravery, weakness, and sadness. Once again, the women in the story, Mary and Mary, stay strong while the eleven men flee and wander aimlessly. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

After mass, it was off to Austin, one of my favorite cities. A beautiful drive with the convertible top down and Texas bluebonnets in full bloom across the pastures. Lunch on Lake Travis, a brisk hike along Town Lake, and then off to the hotel to prepare for the finale'. An attempt at a nap was terminated by my discovery of Braveheart on TV.....can't nap through that one! It was as good the 20th time as the first.

Some ritas and Tex Mex for dinner and then off to stop #1 on Springteen In Texas Week. Bruce and the E Street Band played 3 hours in the Texas Longhorn Drum. No breaks, no halftime. Three hours of great tunes interweaving the two themes of "tough times" and "hope". He opened up with Badlands that laid down the foundation for these times: "Lights out tonight, trouble in the heartland. Got a head-on collision, smashin in my guts man. Im caught in a crossfire that I don't understand." Then on to the new song, Outlaw Pete....could have been Outlaw Madoff! Back on top with Lucky Day and Working On A Dream. His one sermon came during Working On A Dream where he proclaimed that "we're going to build a house of hope, joy and faith".
The show included many classics and some I hadn't seen in some time. The band continues to deliver after all of these years. When the crowd was slowing down, Bruce yelled "is anyone alive out there?".
So back to my earlier story. It's Holy Week. Is anyone alive out there??

Land of Hopes & Dreams
Grab your ticket and your suitcase
Thunder's rolling down the tracks
You don't know where you're goin'
But you know you won't be back
Darlin' if you're weary
Lay your head upon my chest
We'll take what we can carry
And we'll leave the rest
Big Wheels rolling through fields
Where sunlight streams
Meet me in a land of hope and dreams
I will provide for you
And I'll stand by your side
You'll need a good companion for
This part of the ride
Leave behind your sorrows
Let this day be the last
Tomorrow there'll be sunshine
And all this darkness past
Big wheels roll through fields
Where sunlight streams
Meet me in a land of hope and dreams
This train
Carries saints and sinners
This train
Carries losers and winners
This Train
Carries whores and gamblers
This Train
Carries lost souls
This Train
Dreams will not be thwarted
This Train
Faith will be rewarded
This Train
Hear the steel wheels singin'
This Train
Bells of freedom ringin'
This Train
Carries broken-hearted
This Train
Thieves and sweet souls departed
This Train
Carries fools and kings
This Train
All aboard
This Train
Dreams will not be thwarted
This Train
Faith will be rewarded
This Train
Hear the steel wheels singin'
This Train

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Limits of Growth By Tom Friedman

In 1972, the Club of Rome commissioned the book "The Limits of Growth" which presented the results from a computer model that forecasted the consequences that the human population might have on the earth's ecosystem in the future. Tom Friedman, in this Charlie Rose interview, presents an interesting look at the current economic crisis from this perspective. The interview also covers a broad range of timely topics including the future of India.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Death of The Newspaper??

Remember the days when Rover went out and fetched the newspaper? The day of the printed word might be in it's final days. In the past few months, several newspapers have filed for bankruptcy. As I stated in Peeling Back The Onion, the weakest fall first. The newspaper scenario presents "the weak within the weak". The industry as a whole is struggling as it trys to compete with the internet. Within the industry, the weakest are starting to fall. Will the future be only online press read via pc's, phones, and devices such as Amazon's Kindle?

Friday, April 3, 2009

The New World Order

The term "New World Order" is being used a lot this week at the G-20 conference. I conclude that it's a term with many interpretations. Here is what Wikipedia says about it:

In international relations theory, the term "new world order" refers to a new period of history evidencing a dramatic change in world political thought and the balance of power. However, in conspiracy theory, the term "New World Order" (the capital letters are distinguishing) refers to the advent of a cryptocratic or totalitarian world government.

At the core of most theories, a powerful and
secretive group of globalists is conspiring to eventually rule the world through an autonomous world government, which would replace sovereign states and other checks and balances in international power struggles. Significant occurrences in politics and business are speculated to be caused by an extremely influential cabal operating through many front organizations. Numerous historical and current events are seen as steps in an on-going plot to achieve world domination primarily through secret political gatherings and decision-making processes.

In the past, the conspirators were usually said to be crypto-communist sympathizers who were intent upon bringing the United States under a common world government with the Soviet Union, but the dissolution of the USSR in 1991 undercut that theory. So most conspiracy theorists changed their focus to the United Nations as the likely controlling force in a bureaucratic collectivist New World Order, an idea which is undermined by the powerlessness of the U.N. and the unwillingness of even moderates within the American Establishment to give it anything but a limited role.[1]

Social critics have expressed concern that the synthesis of paranoid theories about a New World Order conspiracy, which were once limited to American far-right audiences, has given them mass appeal and enabled them to become commonplace in mass media, thereby inaugurating an unrivaled popular culture of conspiracism in the U.S. of the late 20th and early 21st century. Some warn that this development may have negative effects on American political life, such as producerist demagogy and moral panic influencing elections as well as domestic and foreign policy.[2][3][4][5][6]

American televangelist Pat Robertson argues that the modern use of the phrase "New World Order" originated in the early 20th century with English businessman Cecil Rhodes, who advocated that the British Empire and the United States of America should jointly impose a federal world government (with English as the official language) and ultra-imperialistic capitalism to bring about lasting "world peace". A sinister motive is seen in the fact that Rhodes founded the Rhodes Scholarship as a global brotherhood of future leaders.[7]
British official Lionel George Curtis, who also believed in the idea of an "Imperial Federation", founded the Round Table movement in 1909, which led to the establishment of the U.K.-based Royal Institute for International Affairs in 1919 and the U.S.-based Council on Foreign Relations in 1921.[8]

The concept of a New World Order as a world government was also promoted by intellectuals of the political left such as English writer H.G. Wells, a vigorous advocate for a world social democracy.[9] In the 20th and early 21st century, a number of statesmen, such as Woodrow Wilson, Winston Churchill, Mikhail Gorbachev, George H. W. Bush, Henry Kissinger, and Gordon Brown have used the term "new world order" only to refer to a new period of history evidencing a dramatic change in world political thought and the balance of power after World War I, World War II, the Cold War, and the global financial crisis of 2008–2009, which they saw as an opportunity to implement idealistic proposals for global governance. However, their use of this term has proven controversial since it has invariably been and continues to be misinterpreted by conspiracy theorists as a call for the imposition of an authoritarian or even totalitarian world government.

The use of the term "New World Order" that had the most influence on the fears of contemporary conspiracy theorists can be found in U.S. President George H. W. Bush's
11 September 1990 "Toward a New World Order" speech (full text) to a joint session of Congress, in which he described the United States' objectives for post-Cold-War global governance in cooperation with post-Soviet states:

'Until now, the world we’ve known has been a world divided – a world of barbed wire and concrete block, conflict and cold war. Now, we can see a new world coming into view. A world in which there is the very real prospect of a new world order. In the words of Winston Churchill, a "world order" in which "the principles of justice and fair play ... protect the weak against the strong ..." A world where the United Nations, freed from cold war stalemate, is poised to fulfill the historic vision of its founders. A world in which freedom and respect for human rights find a home among all nations.'

Investigative journalist
Chip Berlet writes:
When President Bush announced his new foreign policy would help build a New World Order, his phrasing surged through the Christian and secular hard right like an electric shock, since the phrase had been used to represent the dreaded collectivist One World Government for decades.


My brief research presents a range of perspective on the interpretation:

"This World Youth movement claims to represent and affect the politico-social activities of a grand total of forty million adherents - under the age of thirty...It may play an important and increasing role in the consolidation of a new world order. The New Deal is plainly an attempt to achieve a working socialism and avert a social collapse in America; it is extraordinarily parallel to the successive 'policies' and 'Plans' of the Russian experiment. Americans shirk the word 'socialism', but what else can one call it? This new and complete Revolution we contemplate can be defined in a very few words. It is (a) outright world-socialism, scientifically planned and directed, plus (b) a sustained insistence upon law, law based on a fuller, more jealously conceived restatement of the personal Rights of Man, plus (c) the completest freedom of speech, criticism, and publication, and a sedulous expansion of the educational organization to the ever growing demands of the new order.... Putting it at its compactest, it is the triangle of Socialism, Law, and Knowledge which frames the Revolution that may yet save the world."
H.G. Wells, The New World Order - 1939

"We have before us the opportunity to forge for ourselves and for future generations a new world order, a world where the rule of law, not the rule of the jungle, governs the conduct of nations. When we are successful, and we will be, we have a real chance at this new world order, an order in which a credible United Nations can use its peacekeeping role to fulfill the promise and vision of the U.N.'s founders."
President George Bush - 1991

"We must establish a new world order based on justice, on equity, and on peace."
Fidel Castro United Nations - 1979

"We are moving toward a new world order, the world of communism. We shall never turn off that road."
Mikhail Gorbachev 1987

"National Socialism will use its own revolution for establishing of a new world order."
Adolph Hitler during World War II

"All of us will ultimately be judged on the effort we have contributed to building a New World Order."
Robert Kennedy, former U.S. Attorney-General -1967.

"This present window of opportunity, during which a truly peaceful and interdependent world order might be built, will not be open for too long - We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order."
David Rockefeller - September 1994

“All countries embraced some kind of change. So many parts of the world understood that this is a new world order, except the Arab world.”
Ammar Abdulhamid

"The new world order that is in the making must focus on the creation of a world of democracy, peace and prosperity for all."
Nelson Mandela, in the Philadelphia Inquirer - October 1994

"We can see beyond the present shadows of war in the Middle East to a new world order where the strong work together to deter and stop aggression. This was precisely Franklin Roosevelt's and Winston Churchill's vision for peace for the post-war period."
Richard Gephardt, in the Wall Street Journal - September 1990

"The developing coherence of Asian regional thinking is reflected in a disposition to consider problems and loyalties in regional terms, and to evolve regional approaches to development needs and to the evolution of a new world order."
Richard Nixon, in Foreign Affairs - October 1967

"Our nation is uniquely endowed to play a creative and decisive role in the new order which is taking form around us."
Henry Kissinger Seattle Post Intelligence - 1975

"The New World Order cannot happen without U.S. participation, as we are the most significant single component. Yes, there will be a New World Order, and it will force the United States to change it's perceptions."
Henry Kissinger - World Affairs Council Press Conference- 1994

“The alternative to a new international order is chaos. The extraordinary impact of the President-elect (Obama) on the imagination of humanity is an important element in shaping a new world order. The role of China in a new world order is crucial."
Henry Kissinger - January 2009

"The President-elect is coming into office at a moment when there are upheavals in many part of the world simultaneously. You have India-Pakistan. You have, ah, a jihadist movement. But, he can give new imputus to American foreign policy, partly because the ascension of him is so extraordinary and admirable. I think that his task will be to develop an overall strategy for America in this period, when really a 'New World Order' can be created. It's a great opportunity. It isn't such a crisis."
Henry Kissinger - 2008

"I think the new world order is emerging, and with it the foundations of a new and progressive era of international co-operation."
Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister - March 2009

"Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the fields of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere, so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it."
Woodrow Wilson, 1913 (ironically, the year of this quote is the same year that the Federal Reserve was created)

Henry Kissinger interview with Charlie Rose:

Lou Dobbs on 4/2/09: