Jason Rines is the CEO of Raging Debate, LLP. My mentors are from the Boston Venture Capital community where I credit a few stellar gentlemen whom taught me the true meaning of value proposition, the cold but profitable reality of business by numbers and instilling a high ethical code of delivering what is promised.
Evaluation of the dominant assumptions and an understanding of the dynamics of the economic engine is the basis of an approach to asset allocation that provides for both a rational determination of value and an understanding of sentiment in the form of price as a measure of the irrational nature of the operational environment, an approach that is intended at once to avoid unnecessary risk while at the same time enable gradual rebalance of assets as a means to increase net worth via optimization of appreciation and long term yields. Let's call that buy low and fly high just for fun.
I am interested in finding short term trading strategies that result in a positive EV over time, as a way of generating income and personal freedom. On the other hand I enjoy betting games, and view my trading like betting poker hands. The longer term strategy would be to funnel trading profits to solid dividend payers, as a way to cash out of the casino. If you like my work, feel free to contact me.
The Chinese already got rid of their US dollars and US bonds by getting loans and credit lines from American and European banks collateralized against US bonds (thus US dollars). That's how the Chinese HID the fact that they already spent the dollars they have so as not to crash the dollar's exchange value before they got rid of them all.
The Chinese are buying natural resources and profitable Companies throughout the world. They will announce the effective extinction of their dollar reserves once they're done shopping with the last of their (borrowed) US dollars and crash the US dollar(s that they own outright) in the process while revaluing the Chinese Yuan 200-300% in one fell swoop and thus greatly enhance their purchasing power instantaneously.
(The US bonds that the Chinese now hold on paper are mere instruments of financial mass destruction to be used at the most opportune moment. Do you really think that the Chinese are that STUPID and did nothing to protect themselves when we are screaming in their faces 'til we ourselves are blue in the face that we are going to INFLATE the dollar into oblivion and repay our debt to the Chinese with electronic digits that are worth NOTHING?)
On that day (which will be in early 2012 but possibly before that), your wealth will disappear if it was still denominated in US dollars.
Why do you think the Fed lowered US interest rates to practically ZERO? On the face of it, such interest rate policies are counterproductive for (1) they scream market manipulation and economic irresponsibility and (2) they reek of irrationality, for any viable business can generate 5-20% return on capital and thus is perfectly capable of absorbing 2-3% interest rates as the cost of doing business. The REAL reason for the Fed's zero interest rate policy is the Chinese. The Chinese DEMANDED and obtained zero interest rates, for they are not interested in holding depreciating US bonds which only represent the "faith and credit" of a bankrupt people who reneged on their own contractual and legal obligations -- including the US Constitution. The Chinese acquiesce to playing the monetary musical chairs game as long as America (the Fed) gives them dollar credits that they can freely spend, collateralized against the US Bonds that the Chinese own. This way, everyone gets to have their cake and eat it too -- for a little while longer at least. The Chinese get to spend their dollar-denominated reserves without crashing the dollar's value and the Americans can pretend that foreign investors are willing to invest in US debt because the dollar is as good as gold...
The US dollar is a PLAGUE and pure FRAUD.
FRAUD=NOT a good investment.
Leave the sinking ship behind! Save yourselves from USA Titanic by jumping into the economic lifeboat known as GOLD (and SILVER)!
What a disingenuous article.
Gold is a flat line between 1900-1972 because the currency was, by law, fixed to it.
So lets use your math and go back and recalibrate our answer.
Gold rose from $35 to ..hmm.. current prices.. we'll call it $1350 to close the year out in 38 years. Or an increase of 3857% ... Meanwhile the DJIA was 900 in 1972 ... and is about 11500 now. Or an increase of 1277%
My simple math tells me that the Dow hasn't kept pace with the price of gold over the entire course of US history where we've had a fiat currency.
I'm sorry.. you were saying something? You're either wholly disingenuous, in which case this article is malicious. Or you're a moron, in which case please. PLEASE keep selling gold. We need you on the other side of this trade."
Former long-time business editor of major US women's magazine and contributing editor at dozens of different "trade" and consumer publications. Author of over 3,000 print magazine articles in past 30 years.
Penn Ph.D., centrist Republican.
Please visit my blogsites:
Baby Boomers-The Angriest Generation http://angriestgeneration.wordpress.com
The Rest of U.S. (for and about political Centrists) http://newcentristera.wordpress.com
and my brand-new blog about Markets:
Capital Punishment-Markets Through the Looking Glass http://marketslookingglass.wordpress.com
I Am A Concerned Citizen As Well As A Manufacturing Engineer Heavily Involved In Distressed Real Estate.
Points To Ponder:
Function Derives From Structure.
Debate Is The Distillation Of Reality.
Reality Will Be Reality Whether Believed In Or Not.
Pretending In Dire Circumstance Usually Results In Catastrophe.
Complexity Favors The Sinister.
To Assume Benevolence Is Foolish.
Safety Is A Function Of Awareness.
Pessimism Is "Optimism With Contingency"
Garland Pollard writes about media, branding and technology from Sarasota, Florida. His website BrandlandUSA.com is America’s authority on legacy brands. A native of Virginia and the former editor of Virginia Living magazine, by day he is Director of Communications for the Florida diocese of the Episcopal Church.
Jason Rines is the CEO of Raging Debate, LLP.
My mentors are from the Boston Venture Capital community where I credit a few stellar gentlemen whom taught me the true meaning of value proposition, the cold but profitable reality of business by numbers and instilling a high ethical code of delivering what is promised.
I am retired from Fresno County. I like to blog and comment on financial matters. I knew of the housing bubble in late 2005, way before Cramer. I believe that the central banking establishment set up excessive and damaging credit vehicles both for investors and for borrowers. Investors were swindled but no one goes to jail. Borrowers were given so much easy money that the loans themselves pushed the value of houses up to unsustainable heights. It is worthwhile to "fight" the lending abuses peacefully, with education and through legal means where possible.
I am not an investment counselor nor am I an attorney so my views are not to be considered investment advice. It seems from my understanding of the economy, that folks who fight the Fed are fighting a force that is powerful, capable of keeping interest rates low, etc.
Upon receiving my Masters degree in Music from Connecticut's Hartt School of Music, I took a job at a local Friendly's serving ice cream, where I perfected the disgruntled, comatose look, as seen in the photo at left. As a first-time participant in the American economy by way of fast-food, I noted the vileness and squalor into which our country was plummeting.
Now, as an SA commentator, I look forward to multiplying my earnings, once I get some, and settling down as a prime member of society, living out my remaining years in the luxury every red-blooded American deserves.
I currently live in a barn with my saxophones, watching America decline around me.
I grew up on a cattle ranch, but went to work in the steel business after completing my BA. I spent the first 30 years of my life focused on making a living and assuming that government is irrelevant. What a silly assumption.
Two years ago, I made to decision to move my family from California to Idaho. I am now focused on preparing for the changes that are coming over the next couple of decades. These preparations include making the right investments.
I'm looking to join with others who value personal liberty and free markets. Radical changes are coming and there will be an opportunity to make these changes for the better. Electing more people like Ron Paul would be a great start. Modifying our Constitution to firmly re-establish limits on government power would be a great finish.
Chris Martenson's "Crash Course" does a terrific job of describing the challenges we must overcome. Please google and watch.
William M. Wright and the stock market go back to 1971. Bill has twenty seven years experience working within the financial service industry and valuable knowledge of market and economic history. He's a once-upon-a-time aggressive skiier and Lake Tahoe local. Before founding Window To Wall Street , Bill was in a senior management position for over 15 years with a fortune 100 financial institution where he managed multiple Mutual Fund and Variable Annuity functions. He's been a Dept.Director, Financial Consultant, Money Manager,Tax Advisor, Business Analyst and Financial Analyst. Bill completed his MBA at Eastern Michigan University and graduated Cum Laude from Western Michigan University where he earned his BBA in both Accounting and Finance. He also holds an Associates Degree (AA) in Business from Kalamazoo Valley Community College, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude.
* This is a highly interesting interview of John Perkins – an economic hit man for the American empire and banksters. How does American ruling elite go about conquering the world? According to John Perkins :
o Firstly, send in the economic hit man to cripple the economy of countries by making them go into large debts based on falsified economic forecasts for large unnecessary infra-structure projects.
o Secondly, if the local politicians refuse to go along and refuse to be corrupted, the goon squads, assassination teams are sent in. Such politicians are ’suicided’.
o Lastly, if the first 2 methods fail, send in the military. Start a war!
* Why is America continually fighting wars? It is because large oil interest, large corporations, the military industrial complex, banksters …. have taken over the ruling class. This is corporatism and America is heading towards fascism. Pakistan war is next and… Mexico….? Americans need to wake up and realize who the traitors are. Why are good American young man dying in unnecessary wars? So that these vampire corporations can make their profits? Suck up resources and kill alot of citizens of other countries?
* John Perkins authored the book: Confessions of an Economic Hitman:
In this shocking memoir, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins tells of his own inner journey from willing servant of empire to impassioned advocate for the rights of oppressed people. Covertly recruited by the United States National Security Agency and on the payroll of an international consulting firm, he traveled the world—to Indonesia, Panama, Ecuador, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and other strategically important countries.
His job was to implement policies that promoted the interests of the U.S. corporatocracy (a coalition of government, banks, and corporations) while professing to alleviate poverty—policies that alienated many nations and ultimately led to September 11 and growing anti-Americanism. Within a few weeks of its release , Confessions of an Economic Hit Man landed onThe New York Times Bestseller List, then 19 other bestseller lists including the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.
The author has been interviewed repeatedly on national radio and television shows, including Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now, CSPAN’s Book TV, and PBS’ Now with David Brancaccio. And now the book is being published in 9 languages around the world. According to John Perkins, “It is accomplishing an important objective in inspiring people to think and talk and to know that we can change the world.”
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
by John Perkins
Plume, 2005, paperback, 280 pp., $15.00
"Economic hit men," John Perkins writes, "are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. Their tools include fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder."
John Perkins should know—he was an economic hit man for an international consulting firm that worked to convince developing countries to accept enormous loans and to funnel that money to U.S.corporations. Once these countries were saddled with huge debts, the American government and international aid agencies were able to request their “pound of flesh” in favors, including access to natural resources, military cooperation, and political support.
Praise for Confessions of an Economic Hitman
"A bombshell. One of those rare instances in which someone deeply entrenched in our governmental/corporate imperialist structure has come forward to reveal in unequivocal terms its inner workings. A work of great insight and moral courage."—John E. Mack, Harvard professor
“Here are the real-life details—nasty, manipulative, plain evil—of international corporate skullduggery spun into a tale rivaling the darkest espionage thriller.” —Greg Palast, author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy
Quotes from Confessions of an Economic Hitman
Quito, Ecuador's capital, stretches across a volcanic valley high in the Andes, at an altitude of nine thousand feet. Residents of this city, which was founded long before Columbus arrived in the Americas, are accustomed to seeing snow on the surrounding peaks, despite the fact that they live just a few miles south of the equator. The city of Shell, a frontier outpost and military base hacked out of Ecuador's Amazon jungle to service the oil company whose name it bears, is nearly eight thousand feet lower than Quito. A steaming city, it is inhabited mostly by soldiers, oil workers, and the indigenous people from the Shuar and Kichwa tribes who work for them as prostitutes and laborers.
To journey from one city to the other, you must travel a road that is both tortuous and breathtaking. Local people will tell you that during the trip you experience all four seasons in a single day. Although I have driven this road many times, I never tire of the spectacular scenery. Sheer cliffs, punctuated by cascading waterfalls and brilliant bromeliads, rise up one side. On the other side, the earth drops abruptly into a deep abyss where the Pastaza River, a headwater of the Amazon, snakes its way down the Andes. The Pastaza carries water from the glaciers of Cotopaxi, one of the world's highest active volcanoes and a deity in the time of the Incas, to the Atlantic Ocean over three thousand miles away.
In 2003, I departed Quito in a Subaru Outback and headed for Shell on a mission that was like no other I had ever accepted. I was hoping to end a war I had helped create. As is the case with so many things we EHMs must take responsibility for, it is a war that is virtually unknown anywhere outside the country where it is fought. I was on my way to meet with the Shuars, the Kichwas, and their neighbors the Achuars, the Zaparos, and the Shiwiars—tribes determined to prevent our oil companies from destroying their homes, families, and lands, even if it means they must die in the process. For them, this is a war about the survival of their children and cultures, while for us it is about power, money, and natural resources. It is one part of the struggle for world domination and the dream of a few greedy men, global empire.
That is what we EHMs do best: we build a global empire. We are an elite group of men and women who utilize international financial organizations to foment conditions that make other nations subservient to the corporatocracy running our biggest corporations, our government, and our banks. Like our counterparts in the Mafia, EHMs provide favors. These take the form of loans to develop infrastructure—electric generating plants, highways, ports, airports, or industrial parks. A condition of such loans is that engineering and construction companies from our own country must build all these projects. In essence, most of the money never leaves the United States; it is simply transferred from banking offices in Washington to engineering offices in New York, Houston, or San Francisco.
Despite the fact that the money is returned almost immediately to corporations that are members of the corporatocracy (the creditor), the recipient country is required to pay it all back, principal plus interest. If an EHM is completely successful, the loans are so large that the debtor is forced to default on its payments after a few years. When this happens, then like the Mafia we demand our pound of flesh. This often includes one or more of the following: control over United Nations votes, the installation of military bases, or access to precious resources such as oil or the Panama Canal. Of course, the debtor still owes us the money—and another country is added to our global empire.
Driving from Quito toward Shell on this sunny day in 2003, I thought back thirty-five years to the first time I arrived in this part of the world. I had read that although Ecuador is only about the size of Nevada, it has more than thirty active volcanoes, over 15 percent of the world's bird species, and thousands of as-yet-unclassified plants, and that it is a land of diverse cultures where nearly as many people speak ancient indigenous languages as speak Spanish. I found it fascinating and certainly exotic; yet, the words that kept coming to mind back then were pure, untouched, and innocent. Much has changed in thirty-five years.
At the time of my first visit in 1968, Texaco had only just discovered petroleum in Ecuador's Amazon region. Today, oil accounts for nearly half the country's exports. A trans-Andean pipeline built shortly after my first visit has since leaked over a half million barrels of oil into the fragile rain forest—more than twice the amount spilled by the Exxon Valdez. Today, a new $1.3 billion, three hundred-mile pipeline constructed by an EHM-organized consortium promises to make Ecuador one of the world's top ten suppliers of oil to the United States. Vast areas of rain forest have fallen, macaws and jaguars have all but vanished, three Ecuadorian indigenous cultures have been driven to the verge of collapse, and pristine rivers have been transformed into flaming cesspools.
During this same period, the indigenous cultures began fighting back. For instance, on May 7, 2003, a group of American lawyers representing more than thirty thousand indigenous Ecuadorian people filed a $1 billion lawsuit against ChevronTexaco Corp. The suit asserts that between 1971 and 1992 the oil giant dumped into open holes and rivers over four million gallons per day of toxic wastewater contaminated with oil, heavy metals, and carcinogens, and that the company left behind nearly 350 uncovered waste pits that continue to kill both people and animals.
Outside the window of my Outback, great clouds of mist rolled in from the forests and up the Pastaza's canyons. Sweat soaked my shirt, and my stomach began to churn, but not just from the intense tropical heat and the serpentine twists in the road. Knowing the part I had played in destroying this beautiful country was once again taking its toll. Because of my fellow EHMs and me, Ecuador is in far worse shape today than she was before we introduced her to the miracles of modern economics, banking, and engineering. Since 1970, during this period known euphemistically as the Oil Boom, the official poverty level grew from 50 to 70 percent, under- or unemployment increased from 15 to 70 percent, and public debt increased from $240 million to $16 billion. Meanwhile, the share of national resources allocated to the poorest segments of the population declined from 20 to 6 percent.
Unfortunately, Ecuador is not the exception. Nearly every country we EHMs have brought under the global empire's umbrella has suffered a similar fate. Third world debt has grown to more than $2.5 trillion, and the cost of servicing it—over $375 billion per year as of 2004—is more than all third world spending on health and education, and twenty times what developing countries receive annually in foreign aid. Over half the people in the world survive on less than two dollars per day, which is roughly the same amount they received in the early 1970s. Meanwhile, the top 1 percent of third world households accounts for 70 to 90 percent of all private financial wealth and real estate ownership in their country; the actual percentage depends on the specific country.
The Subaru slowed as it meandered through the streets of the beautiful resort town of Banos, famous for the hot baths created by underground volcanic rivers that flow from the highly active Mount Tungurahgua. Children ran along beside us, waving and trying to sell us gum and cookies. Then we left Banos behind. The spectacular scenery ended abruptly as the Subaru sped out of paradise and into a modern vision of Dante's Inferno A gigantic monster reared up from the river, a mammoth gray wall. Its dripping concrete was totally out of place, completely unnatural and incompatible with the landscape. Of course, seeing it there should not have surprised me. I knew all along that it would be waiting in ambush. I had encountered it many times before and in the past had praised it as a symbol of EHM accomplishments. Even so, it made my skin crawl.
That hideous, incongruous wall is a dam that blocks the rushing Pastaza River, diverts its waters through huge tunnels bored into the mountain, and converts the energy to electricity. This is the 156- megawatt Agoyan hydroelectric project. It fuels the industries that make a handful of Ecuadorian families wealthy, and it has been the source of untold suffering for the farmers and indigenous people who live along the river. This hydroelectric plant is just one of many projects developed through my efforts and those of other EHMs. Such projects are the reason Ecuador is now a member of the global empire, and the reason why the Shuars and Kichwas and their neighbors threaten war against our oil companies.
Because of EHM projects, Ecuador is awash in foreign debt and must devote an inordinate share of its national budget to paying this off, instead of using its capital to help the millions of its citizens officially classified as dangerously impoverished. The only way Ecuador can buy down its foreign obligations is by selling its rain forests to the oil companies. Indeed, one of the reasons the EHMs set their sights on Ecuador in the first place was because the sea of oil beneath its Amazon region is believed to rival the oil fields of the Middle East. The global empire demands its pound of flesh in the form of oil concessions.
These demands became especially urgent after September 11, 2001, when Washington feared that Middle Eastern supplies might cease. On top of that, Venezuela, our third-largest oil supplier, had recently elected a populist president, Hugo Chavez, who took a strong stand against what he referred to as U.S. imperialism; he threatened to cut off oil sales to the United States. The EHMs had failed in Iraq and Venezuela, but we had succeeded in Ecuador; now we would milk it for all it is worth.
Ecuador is typical of countries around the world that EHMs have brought into the economic-political fold. For every $100 of crude taken out of the Ecuadorian rain forests, the oil companies receive $75. Of the remaining $25, three-quarters must go to paying off the foreign debt. Most of the remainder covers military and other government expenses—which leaves about $2.50 for health, education, and programs aimed at helping the poor. Thus, out of every $100 worth of oil torn from the Amazon, less than $3 goes to the people who need the money most, those whose lives have been so adversely impacted by the dams, the drilling, and the pipelines, and who are dying from lack of edible food and potable water.
All of those people—millions in Ecuador, billions around the planet—are potential terrorists. Not because they believe in communism or anarchism or are intrinsically evil, but simply because they are desperate. Looking at this dam, I wondered—as I have so often in so many places around the world—when these people would take action, like the Americans against England in the 1770s or Latin Americans against Spain in the early 1800s.
The subtlety of this modern empire building puts the Roman centurions, the Spanish conquistadors, and the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European colonial powers to shame. We EHMs are crafty; we learned from history. Today we do not carry swords. We do not wear armor or clothes that set us apart. In countries like Ecuador, Nigeria, and Indonesia, we dress like local schoolteachers and shop owners. In Washington and Paris, we look like government bureaucrats and bankers. We appear humble, normal. We visit project sites and stroll through impoverished villages. We profess altruism, talk with local papers about the wonderful humanitarian things we are doing. We cover the conference tables of government committees with our spreadsheets and financial projections, and we lecture at the Harvard Business School about the miracles of macroeconomics. We are on the record, in the open. Or so we portray ourselves and so are we accepted. It is how the system works. We seldom resort to anything illegal because the system itself is built on subterfuge, and the system is by definition legitimate.
However—and this is a very large caveat—if we fail, an even more sinister breed steps in, ones we EHMs refer to as the jackals, men who trace their heritage directly to those earlier empires. The jackals are always there, lurking in the shadows. When they emerge, heads of state are overthrown or die in violent "accidents." And if by chance the jackals fail, as they failed in Afghanistan and Iraq, then the old models resurface. When the jackals fail, young Americans are sent in to kill and to die.
As I passed the monster, that hulking mammoth wall of gray concrete rising from the river, I was very conscious of the sweat that soaked my clothes and of the tightening in my intestines. I headed on down into the jungle to meet with the indigenous people who are determined to fight to the last man in order to stop this empire I helped create, and I was overwhelmed with feelings of guilt. How, I asked myself, did a nice kid from rural New Hampshire ever get into such a dirty business?
Copyright 2006 John Perkins
Table of Contents of Confessions of an Economic Hitman
PART I: 1963-71
1: An Economic Hit Man Is Born
2: "In for Life"
3: Indonesia: Lessons for an EHM
4: Saving a Country from Communism
5: Selling My Soul
PART II: 1972-74
6: My Role as Inquisitor
7: Civilization on Trial
8: Jesus - Seen Differently
9: Opportunity of a Lifetime
10: Panama: the President and Hero
11: Pirates in the Canal Zone
12: Soldiers and Prostitutes
13: Conversations with the General
14: Meeting the Novelist Graham Greene
PART III: 1974 - 81
15: Entering a New and Sinister Period in Economic History
16: The Saudi Arabian Money-laundering Affair
17: Financing Osama Bin Laden
18: Panama Canal Treaty Negotiations
19: Iran's King of Kings
20: Confessions of a Tortured Man
21: The Fall of a King
22: Colombia: Keystone to Latin America
23: American Democracy Vs. Global Empire
24: Ecuador's President Battles Big Oil
25: I Quit
Part IV: 1982 - Present
26: Ecuador: Presidential death - CIA Assassination?
27: Panama: Another Presidential death - CIA Assassination?
28: My Own Energy Company, Enron, and G. W. Bush
29: A New Breed of EHM
30: U.S. Invades Panama
31: Venezuela: Another EHM Failure
32: Ecuador Revisited
About John Perkins
JOHN PERKINS was recruited by the National Security Agency during his last year at Boston University's School of Business Administration, 1968. He spent the next three years in the Peace Corps in South America and then in 1971 joined the international consulting firm of Chas. T. Main, a Boston-based company of 2000 employees that kept a very low profile. As Chief Economist and Director of Economics and Regional Planning at MAIN, his primary job was to convince Less Developed Countries (LDCs) around the world to accept multibillion dollar loans for infrastructure projects and to see to it that most of this money ended up at MAIN, Bechtel, Halliburton, Brown and Root, and other U.S. engineering/construction companies. The loans left the recipient countries wallowing in debt and highly vulnerable to outside political and commercial interests.
Perkins resigned his position at MAIN in 1981. He founded and became CEO of Independent Power Systems, pioneering technologies that promoted the use of "waste" power plant heat in hydroponic greenhouses and other cogeneration applications. In 1990, he sold IPS and founded a nonprofit organization, Dream Change Coalition, which works closely with Amazonian and other indigenous people to help preserve their environments and cultures.
John began writing Confessions of an Economic Hit Man several times during the past two decades. He was persuaded to stop by lucrative business offers that were contingent on his silence. "Now," he says, "we have entered the new millennium. Nine-eleven happened. My daughter has grown up and left home. The time has come. . ."