Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Petrus van Uhm: Guns and Peace

Gen Petrus van Uhm's speech that follows is a persuasive admonition about why the world needs people with guns to protect the peace.

Good News: Foxconn is Hiring High Tech Workers

There's good news in high tech hiring! Apple's manufacturing subsidiary, Foxconn, is looking for thousands of motivated high tech workers to expand production of their venerable line of iPad and iPod handheld computing devices. Follow the link below to learn more.

Learn More

Foxconn is an equal opportunity employer.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Charles Seife: On Mathematical Deception

Prof Charles Seife cautions vigilance in the face of what he describes as "the dark arts of mathematical deception."

I regret that good people continue to be bamboozled and victimized by numerical charlatans who prey upon our society. The newest approach to mathematical deception is through distorted visualizations and graphics. Ironically, many of the "dashboard" solutions that are in current use in enterprise have never been tested for validity or reliability. Consumers of quantitative intelligence would be wise to look well beyond the numbers and graphics into the sources of data and confidence testing that was used in support of analytical conclusions.

As a business intelligence and quantitative professional, I am constantly detecting subtle to blatant methodological violations in the literature. In particular, government research is not immune to these violations. When in doubt, be certain to consult with an independent analytics professional before relying upon any reports and evidence required for major decisions that entail potential catastrophic loss of assets, life, or freedom. Remember that the marketplace, hospitals, and courtrooms are still very dangerous places.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What is a Racketeer?

A person who commits crimes such as extortion, loansharking, bribery, and obstruction of justice in furtherance of illegal business activities.

Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) in The Godfather (1972)

Source: The Free Dictionary

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Jeb Corliss Conquers the Matterhorn

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Well Said...

"You have to perform at a consistently higher level than others. That's the mark of a true professional."

~ Joe Paterno

Joseph Vincent Paterno (1926-2012) [photo by Allenmock]

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Wall Street Racketeering Alleged

As reported in Bloomberg (2012, January 21):
Jon Corzine, MF Global Holdings Ltd.’s former chief executive officer, was sued under U.S. racketeering law by commodity customers alleging he and other executives "unlawfully" took money from their accounts and failed to segregate their money as the law requires.
The suit alleges that MF Global transferred "hundreds of millions of dollars" from customers' accounts into house accounts to resolve cashflow problems.

Hon Jon Stevens Corzine (1947- )

If Wall Street executives with close ties to government are engaging in "racketeering," then society truly is dealing with a bankster clan of the worst kind...

Source: Sandler, L (2012, January 21), Corzine Sued for RICO Violation by MF Global Customers, Bloomberg.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

What is Deflation?

1. The act of deflating or the condition of being deflated.
2. A persistent decrease in the level of consumer prices or a persistent increase in the purchasing power of money because of a reduction in available currency and credit.

Source: The Free Dictionary

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What is a Skill?

1. special ability in a task, sport, etc., esp ability acquired by training
2. something, esp a trade or technique, requiring special training or manual proficiency
3. Obsolete understanding

Notice that "understanding" is not synonymous with "skill"...

Source: The Free Dictionary

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The Secret of Oz

A Bold Idea for US Tax and Currency Reform

The demand for Federal Reserve Notes for Federal transactions has never been greater. The result is a shortage of dollars along Main Street USA. What is needed in response are alternative currencies that can be used for commerce without tax consequences. In other words, any transaction completed with other than Federal Reserve Notes would be non-taxable as income or capital gains. Tax reform would then focus on regulating the use and flow of Federal Reserve Notes exclusively. Only earnings and trades transacted in Federal Reserve Notes would be reportable and taxable. Business transacted using alternative currencies would be considered "blind events" for tax purposes.

US tax and currency reforms are urgently needed if Federalism is to save itself as a form of governance...

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Moneyball (2011) makes an excellent case for competing on analytics using professional baseball as the cinematic venue.

The film does an excellent job of portraying the temperamental resistance of "old school" decision analysts to probabilistic thinking and quantitative methods.

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The Mystique of Goldman Sachs

Well Said...

"If a man empties his purse into his head no one can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."

~ Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

Benjamin Franklin's investment perspective of education is perhaps the most important lesson learned of my entire life...

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

What is a Grouch?

1. a person who complains.
2. a complaint.

Source: The Free Dictionary

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What is a Grump?

1. A cranky complaining person.
2. A fit of ill temper. Often used in the plural with the.

Source: The Free Dictionary

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What is World-Class?

1. Ranking among the foremost in the world; of an international standard of excellence; of the highest order: a world-class figure skater.
2. Great, as in importance, concern, or notoriety.

Source: The Free Dictionary

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Paul-Huntsman in 2012

Now that the Iowa and New Hampshire Republican primaries are over with Mitt Romney the clear front-runner for the Republican party, voters might begin to consider the potential for an independent ticket that includes Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman. From where I sit, a Paul-Huntsman ticket could be viable.

Hon Ronald Ernest "Ron" Paul (1935- )
Hon Jon Meade Huntsman, Jr (1960- )

Thus far, Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman have both run respectable campaigns to become the Republican presidential nominee. Nevertheless, Ron Paul is an unabashed Libertarian, and Jon Huntsman has been described as a "no-label" Libertarian. Is Libertarianism gaining appeal in America, and could a Paul-Huntsman ticket win the US presidency?

Teutonic versus Latin Banking Regimes

Prof Walter Russell Mead wrote the following today in The American Interest:
Germany is in big trouble in Europe, and the Franco-Italian coalition is going to make things much tougher. Germany’s ultimate choice may well lie between submitting to a fundamentally Latin currency regime with a few Teutonic decorations and the division of Europe into two or more currency zones.
Read More

Insignia of the Teutonic Order by Arnaud Bunel

The ongoing struggle between northern and southern Europe reaches back to biblical times. I doubt that the Germans can convert France and Italy, let alone Spain, Portugal, and Greece, to its monetary banking regimes in the near-term. Dark times may be descending upon much of Europe.

Source: Mead, Walter Russell, (2012, January 11), Europe: The New German Nightmare Begins, The American Interest.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sunday, January 08, 2012

What is a Warmonger?

One who advocates or attempts to stir up war.

José Clemente Orozco Mural, Governor's Palace, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
(Photo by Wonderlane)

Source: The Free Dictionary

Related Quotes

What is Propaganda?

1. The systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or cause.
2. Material disseminated by the advocates or opponents of a doctrine or cause: wartime propaganda.

Source: The Free Dictionary

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Evidence of War Propaganda in America

Friday, January 06, 2012

Well Said...

"Forget regret, or life is yours to miss."

~ Jonathan Larson

Jonathan Larson (1960-1996)

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US Employment to Population Ratio Ends 2011 Mixed

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the US employment to population ratio* for December 2011 stood at 58.5%, down from 58.7% the previous month, but up from 58.3% a year ago. The US employment to population ratio has been trending downwards since 2000.

[click to enlarge]

Many economists believe that reporting the number employed as a percentage of the civilian population provides a more accurate description of the current state of employment than conjecturing the number of "unemployed" in a population. The US employment to population ratio reached an historical peak of 64.4% on an annual basis in 2000.

*The BLS defines employment and population (civilian noninstitutional) as follows:
Employment consists of all persons who, during the reference week (the calendar week including the twelfth day of the month), (a) did any work at all (at least 1 hour) as paid employees, worked in their own business or profession or on their own farm, or worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers in an enterprise operated by a member of the family, or (b) were not working but had jobs or businesses from which they were temporarily absent because of vacation, illness, bad weather, childcare problems, maternity or paternity leave, labor-management dispute, job training, or other family or personal reasons, whether or not they were paid for the time off or were seeking other jobs.... The civilian noninstitutional population consists of persons 16 years of age and older residing in the 50 States and the District of Columbia who are not inmates of institutions (for example, penal and mental facilities and homes for the aged) and who are not on active duty in the Armed Forces.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Monday, January 02, 2012

Everything is Practice...

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Well Said...

Your Life...

What are Special Drawing Rights (SDR's)?

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF):
The [Special Drawing Right, or] SDR is an international reserve asset, created by the IMF in 1969 to supplement its member countries' official reserves. Its value is based on a basket of four key international currencies, and SDRs can be exchanged for freely usable currencies.
Read More

The amorphous nature of SDR's defies modern definition and description as SDR's are an exhange instrument available for use by sovereign states rather than corporations or individuals. The IMF has published an informative paper entitled, Enhancing International Monetary Stability -- a Role for the SDR? (Moghadam, 2011), which describes how SDR's are used to enable international trade.

Watch for SDR's to play an increasingly important role in world trade settlements. Eventually, SDR's could replace sovereign currencies as the foreign exhange medium of choice globally.

Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF)

The Most Significant Developments of 2011 with Trends in 2012

From Jesse's Café Américain Copyright © 2011 Droit d'Auteur

As always the four great variables in human history are war, weather, disease, and religion.

Weather includes a wider range of natural phenomenon, and similarly religion includes secular movements such as fascism and communism that are essentially godless religions that involve the ordering of the relationship of the individual with a higher power that is not supernatural.

I do not address stocks, including the miners, specifically as I see that investment sector as extraordinarily risky. Tell me what the Fed and ECB will do and I will tell you how stocks will perform. That is the nature of this market.

As I am comfortable with stagflation, stocks most likely will not perform well in real terms. However, they could be targeted by the Fed as they implement nominal GDP growth and it puts more weight on selective inflation within the stagnant real economy.

Stocks tend to play the role of a variable hedge in my forecast and my own portfolio. The bigger investments are bonds, including cash which is a bond of zero duration, and alternative currencies like gold and silver, oil and income producing physical assets.

1. Wall Street dropped some of its pretense to fairness and softer forms of fraud and resorted to overt theft as MF Global stole significant sums of money, bonds, and bullion assets directly from customer accounts, under the eyes of the regulators, and transferred the money to its global bankers who refused to give it back.

Trend: Theft by the financiers will continue and intensify. The victims will be vilified to blunt public reaction.

2. The Eurozone came under unremitting assault by the ratings agencies and their associated banks and hedge funds. The Euro is an inherently 'difficult' currency to manage and has always been more susceptible to broad swings in value. This is because it is an economic union without a comprehensive political and financial union. It more closely resembles the original thirteen states of the US under the Articles of Confederation than it does a comprehensive Republic.

Trend: The Eurozone will continue to struggle to find a balance between political and financial factors, and will evolve into a stronger union of fewer members. Germany and France will continue to emerge as the great Western European power. The UK will be preoccupied by its own set of severe internal problems and regional unrest as austerity bites deeply. The UK will begin to act as more of an Anglo-American agent in the Eurozone. It may take on more of the character of an Orwellian state.

3. The Federal Reserve is expanding its power as a monetary authority and regulator of the financial system in an extra-Constitutional manner. The Fed is determined to fight the deflationary forces of global trade and credit contraction by expanding its balance sheet. They have little fear of inflation. Hyperinflation is highly unlikely in the absence of an exogenous shock. Stagflation is the new normal disguised somewhat by government statistics.

Trend: The Fed will start a new program of 'nominal GDP targeting' without stated limits in size of activity, as it will be defined by the scope of its objectives. The bond bubble will continue particularly in the long end of the curve. It will falter and breakdown at some point, but this is not likely in the near term unless some external standard is imposed or exogenous force intervenes.

4. A currency war is well underway in the aftermath of the closing of the gold window and the erosion of the Bretton Woods agreement, into an uneasy floating exchange rate system known informally as 'Bretton Woods II.' This currency war manifests in currency devaluations and pegs in support of mercantilism, particularly in the developing countries. It is a form of neo-colonialism supported by the great multinational corporations.

Trend: Global trade will begin to come under greater political assault as the exchange rate mechanism fails to impose a reasonable balance on the flows of goods and capital. The SDR is the most likely replacement for the US dollar as the world migrates towards a dual currency regime with one currency for domestic only use and an international unit for the settlement of world trade. The composition of the SDR will be a major point of contention between the BRICs and the Anglo-Americans.

5. The US political process is dominated by Big Money, a system in which a small number of people choose the candidates which will be allowed on the final ballot despite great pretense of a selection process and primaries. Despite the usual emotional heat expressed by a minority on each side in any competitive process, the end result is that no candidates can be chosen without being vetted and approved by the monied interests. This tends to continue to promote and support a status quo.

Trend: There may be a third party candidate, and perhaps one other fourth party of any real significance, but the end choice will be between Obama and Romney who are the corporate candidates. Strong voter dissatisfaction will cause minority parties to secede from the two major political parties, including at least one crypto-fascist movement and one progress movement. Watch for a rising current of racism, and attempts to make prejudice socially acceptable, and a growing class hatred. There will be major riots and demonstrations each summer from now until 2020 or a return to representative government.

6. As the global monetary regime continues its change, the US dollar continues to be stretched thinly. Despite all the odds and strong opposition from Western central banks and monetary authorities, gold has sustained an eleven year bull market.

Trend: Gold is in a bull market that will last until around 2020, or until the global monetary system reaches a sustainable equilibrium with a replacement for the US dollar as the reserve currency that is acceptable to the new economic powers. Silver and gold will continue to move with significant volatility as their prices increase. Bonds are the current asset bubble. At some point this may break as the housing market has done, and this will have a negative impact for gold if interest rates on the short end turn positive. This may not happen if inflation increases faster than interest rates rise.

7. China and Russia have replaced their command and control communist economies with command and control oligarchies. The power of China is the exploitation of labor, and of Russia, natural resources. Despite their calm outward appearance, there is significant turmoil beneath the surface, often regional in nature.

Trend: The governments of the world will continue to be shaken by the restructuring of the world economy. Change and calls for reform will most often be met by repression, often harsh. The world will continue to develop into three or four spheres of influence, with the greatest unrest and contained wars on the fringes of those spheres. The greatest region of conflict will remain where Europe meets Asia, and Asia meets the subcontinent.

I hesitate to put forward such a gloomy outlook, but this is in keeping with the forecast I put out in 2005 and it seems that most of the trends have occurred and even intensified. This is a period of great change, and this presents both risks and rewards.

And as always, against the backdrop of great events, while nations rise and fall, the life of the ordinary family goes on. 'There are these three things that endure: faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is Love,' for it is the highest likeness to God in this world.

Republished with permission of Jesse's Café Américain

Source: The Most Significant Developments of 2011 with Trends in 2012 (2011, December 31), Jesse's Café Américain.