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?