Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Empire of Debt


Yeppers, there will be a few links in this one.

Bill Bonner and Addison Wiggin Have a new book, Empire Of Debt. I have not read this one yet; but all of their prior works have been both well written and accurate. What I really enjoy is that neither one claims to know it all, they both admit they can be wrong. That, and they are fun to read.

What hit me though is that three of those quoted praising the Empire of Debt are Bastiat Free University graduate program course developers. These three are all successful writers themselves, and have a very healthy respect for financial markets. They are also quite successful in those markets.

Take a look at the healthy resumes of Jim Rogers, Doug Casey, and Richard Daughty and you will want to read anything they write or recommend. I am putting in my order for Empire of Debt as soon as I finish writing this post.

Part of the reason for this post is Gold is at or about $500/ounce. This is a good inflection point for many reasons. Back on Sept. 19 I wrote about initiating a longer term position in Gold than is normal for me. I have recently added the second third to that position. Five hundred gold is a price that has surprised many, and may be a short term top. It may also be the start of where Joe Average sees gold as an investment and jumps on board. I would think Empire of Debt may argue far better for higher gold than I can. This is not investment advice, I may never write on Gold again, think for yourself.

Eventually real things will be worth far more than paper promises. Gold stocks add leverage above the metal. One the fellows mentioned above, Doug Casey, is the expert on that.

Prepare for that future.

If you are not sure how to prepare you can learn with me by reading Empire of Debt also. I think it will be a good investment of time and the very small price of the book. Always read the books before you make the investment.

Empire of Debt may be the best investment available for the next dozen or so years.


Monday, November 28, 2005

Respected Universities

Which are the respected universities and how did they engender that respect?

There is no doubt that a degree from a top university will help you in the job market. Both the public and the private sector organizations are willing to pay extra for that cachet.

Much of the respect is due to history; a two hundred plus year tradition of educational excellence carries a great deal of weight.

Successful graduates are another key. If you are running a business school a slew of CEO alumni and alumnae will quickly gain you respect points in the University game.

The graduate programs offered, and the professors that teach them are also a plus when universities are compared.

If you planning on going to college, a high profile, greatly respected university in your chosen field is of course a great goal. College unfortunately no longer represents a quest for understanding, but has become a vocational school for lawyers, NGO activists, politicians and others of their ilk.

You can learn as much from most state colleges. But second tier diplomas received are diluted in job placement value by the huge numbers that are being created. In effect if the degree is not top perceived quality; your career may never take off in a bureaucracy. You may never reach the level where a job gets interesting.

Another option is to start your own business. You will still need to learn, but you can chose what to study for yourself, and do it in a far more informal environment.

Your business itself will teach you more than most colleges; - and you can fail and restart several times while your friends are still spending money and time at school.

There is an interesting write up, by me, about what to consider when seeking a degree.

At least think about all of your learning options first.


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Friday, November 25, 2005

Don't Blame Hollywood

Hollywood takes a lot of abuse for their obviously one sided view of politics. While there are exceptions, most of what Hollywood celebrities support shows a liberal bias. This is not an anti-Hollywood statement, it is obvious to anyone that cares to notice.

To understand this bias, consider what is required to be successful as an actor. An actor is able to delve into the character of their part, and become so involved with that character that they can convince us, and themselves, that they are that imaginary person. This skill is so strong they frequently fall in love with the co-star that plays the character's lover.

Skillful actors see positive results instantly from commitment to a role. If they believe something, so does their audience, and the plot will develop as planned.

These Actors see a problem, they want a solution, so they act to bring immediate relief to the problem. This process is part of what they are; it should not be a surprise.

Life unfortunately is not scripted.
The majority of the time a quick fix is best only in the short term, in the long run it may be disastrous. Hollywood celebrities are not trained or constituted for long range planning, - they believe and act on a belief and good things should happen.

If their beliefs are followed, frequently good things
do happen, but only in the short term.

John M. Keynes, was an economist that focused on the short term (and caused much of our current financial danger). Keynes expressed the desire to ignore consequences beyond the immediate. He said something to the effect "In the long run we are all dead."

Think of a quick fix as putting pain killer and a band aid on an open wound on a foot. - It looks ok and feels better, quick.

The long term option involves unpleasant things like cleaning the wound and putting in stitches, ouch.

The longer term treatment may prevent infection, and possible loss of the foot, - it is therefore better to ignore the "feel good" short term action. Far to often rotting political dogma is made to appear wholesome by using celebrity seasoning.

Let's look at a political application, - poverty.

Even though the money the government takes from us for food stamps has only a small percentage passed through to the poor after bureaucratic expenses, it still feels good to support food stamps. We are helping the poor, short term.
There is a big difference between poor and broke.

Poor is an attitude and a life style.

Broke is a temporary condition that in a free economy can be rectified by action.

If you give money to a poor person, they will take it and ask for more next week. Bureaucrats want to keep people poor so the impoverished are kept dependent. The incumbents can control votes by giving the poor more of your money next week.

The broke just need opportunity. Not from the government, but from free markets. It may take a while, this is a long term solution, but they will end up as successful as they wish.

Give a broke person a regular handout, and you can create a poor person.

Have you ever wondered why there are as many that receive government help in America today as back in the thirties? This after all the supposed wars on poverty?

It is simple, those that went broke in the thirties were made poor by short term, short sighted government policies. America lived without massive government short term fixes for the broke from 1776 to 1932. From the classless America of our forefathers we have created a nation filled with a dependent poor class; - but at least America is still not
yet moribund like Europe.

Hollywood wants to help. The type of help they offer is unfortunately the sort that gives to the broke, making them poor. It is short term and emotionally satisfying; - it is also destructive.

If you want to read a better writer on this subject than myself, - Click Here.


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Monday, November 21, 2005

PT, Permanent Tourist, Perpetual Traveler

First, Look At This 2 Minute Movie.

The grand old man of investments and freedom marketing, Harry Schultz, has put together information that is seldom talked about. There is a book list on a perpetual traveler Squidoo lens of powerful PT books that can help you expand your life.
Also available online are downloads of Dr. W.G. Hill's P.T. -- The Permanent Tourist; a classic road map to the PT lifestyle.

PT has many meanings besides
permanent tourist; from the old Paper Trippers to modern seekers of a Post Tyranny lifestyle. Ultimately it is what the PT lifestyle can do for you as an individual that counts.

The basic PT concept is also called three flag theory.
  • Have your citizenship somewhere that does not tax income earned outside the country.
  • Have your investments in a low or no tax stable country.
  • Live as a tourist in third countries where what you enjoy is legal, maybe even valued.
Some permanent travelers break these ideas into smaller parts and create a five flag theory. It is your life, use whatever tools make sense to you.

Countries usually treat tourists better than their citizens - believing they
own their citizens and treating them as cows. Their citizens are herded, penned, branded, milked, and/or slaughtered. Tourists however are courted and treated well as they bring in cash.

Click here to read Harry Schultz on being a perpetual tourist or PT. - This is information that is not easy to find.

Do you find it horrible to think of not being owned by the government where you were born? If not bureaucrat tipping (BT) is a way to find a bit of freedom, and humor, in our slavery prone world.

If you are serious about investing, here are the basics for success in any type of investment, in any investing climate.
And here is a bit on investing that deals with rules for financial success and a route to financial freedom. Or if you want to start your own business that will travel with you, check this business opportunity page.

You will also find some information on Possibility Thinking at the Bastiat Free University College of Liberty. If this is all too much, start simple. List all of your beliefs, and question where you learned them and who taught them to you. Now -- make up your own mind to your own satisfaction.

Most of what you believe was taught to you by someone taught by another, taught by another. Like in the game post office, time and repetition change the original meanings. Original uncertainty tends to be replaced by those taught to act certain. Delve into your commitments and decide for yourself which beliefs you will retain, which beliefs you will modify or abandon.

Don't be more committed to any institution or person than they are willing to be directly committed to you.

The Sovereign Life newsletter provided this extended list of PT meanings: Perpetual Traveler, Permanent Tourist, Prior Taxpayer, Possibility Thinker, Post Tyranny, Privacy Tactician.

There are more, feel free to invent your own
PT meaning. - Feel free to invent your own PT life.



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Friday, November 18, 2005

For Historical Accuracy


I am not a republicrat or a demonublican. I am an American, sad at the state of our country.

I have lived through about a quarter of USA history, and I figure a note or two on how history is re-written is in order.

On this day in 1961 We entered Viet Nam under JFK, a Democratic president. I knew a wonderful fellow in the Military who was part of a fact finding mission in Nam prior to JFK ordering in 18,000 American soldiers as "advisors." This fellow advised against entry, the French had just had their butts kicked there, and Ho was an admirer of the USA; we could have talked first.

That fine fellow was forced to retire from the army - everyone else wanted to show off American power.

The war in Nam peaked during the Johnson presidency, another Democrat, Those scenes of student unrest you see on TV were probably at the Democratic National convention prior to the elections. Nixon, a Republican, was elected to get us out of the war. Nixon did get us out of Nam, after his ego delayed exit while he tried his tricks for a quick victory.

We lost a lot of good boys, and horribly injured a bunch more, before we joined the French and ran. It was not the soldiers fault we were in the war, or lost the war; that was politicians and generals responsibility.

You will not see this story on TV or at the Movies; or read it in a text book. If you do it is likely Nixon that will be blamed for the war. Bush got us into the present war; in a decade or two we will have another story of why, and other people may get the blame or credit.

The old saw is that history is written by the winners.

No, history is written by journalists and writers; and they all have an agenda.

And history is often rewritten and simplified for easy consumption and indoctrination.

Historians write based on their own world view, no matter how skewed. Just read a few current blogs on the war on terror and you will see how far afield world views can lie.

Just a few talking points, perhaps skewed by me, perhaps as biased as current history reads:

The Civil War was not primarily about slavery, Lincoln did not issue his limited (only some states were effected) emancipation proclamation until the North was losing the war. It was a move borne of desperation. Other countries eliminated slavery without war, the US was headed that way also. The civil war was primarily the end of the Federalist debate. A nation that had been formed with a weak union of 13 separate nation states had become a strong centralized government; a new American nation was created with far more power vested in government.

In the Spanish American war we helped the rebels against Spain in places like the Philippines, then took their country.

The French started WWI, not the Germans; the combatants were at a stalemate and probably close to negotiated peace when we entered. We gave France a victory that destroyed democratic Germany with reparations, and set the stage for Hitler.

The destroyed economies of the world were one element that set the stage for the great depression and the resultant emergence of a new socialist America, a new nation based increasingly on re-distribution and ever increasing government power.

We set back and watched as Japan, Germany, and Russia rampaged at the start of WWII. The USA didn't start to cut off and harass Japan, and look for entry into the war, until Hitler attacked FDRs socialist buddy "Uncle Joe Stalin."

In spite of what you were taught, Hitler and Stalin were socialist allies early on, and we were isolationistic. In his defense FDR probably did not know that Uncle Joe Stalin would kill more of his own countrymen than Adolf Hitler had; both were murdering psychopaths.

The founding fathers of the USA favored isolation from world conflicts. Political leaders however love the power they accrue from a nation at war, and that is leaders of all stripes. The only president worth leading us is one that does not want the job, George Washington was the last one.

America was founded based on independent States competing for citizens; with an agreed union to fight aggression against any. Secession as a state's right was eliminated with the civil war. Secession will become a larger issue within the next few decades, but that is a future post.

In any case, this is not the nation it was at my birth, and the history of what has happened in just my life has been remade.

All of the history we learn has likewise been remade.

All of our knowledge is massaged in a similar manner, but that was a prior post.

Think about what I said rather than react with your bureaucratic trained anger at other viewpoints.

You may find some merit in at least one of those talking points.



Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Wal-Mart Defense


For those of you familiar with the Hitchhiker you know I am associated with Bastiat Free University.

BFuniv has an article on Wal-Mart I whole heartedly endorse, after all, I wrote it.

A bit different look than you may get elsewhere.

Go take a look.


Saturday, November 12, 2005

Aspirin Therapy


Here is my definition of "aspirin therapy."

Aspirin therapy: anything that takes little effort, posses little harm, and may help.

Do you have an argument going? Look up the answer on google; easy, you may be wrong, you may be right.

About to drive to a new area? Look at the map:, little effort, short time investment, may save a bunch of time.

Investing in a stock? Investigate the company; a bit of effort, you may not learn anything new, you may save a bunch of money.

Buying a house? - You get the idea.

We spend too much time investigating small thing, like comparing coffee brands. We spend too little effort exploring and understanding major things:

Our careers,

Our relationships,

Our religion,

Our education,

Our politics,

Our major life decisions.

Take the extra effort to investigate and think clearly. There is little risk in looking at the other side of the arguments without pre-judgments. Nothing may change. It may help.

A single aspirin a day may prevent a heart attack or stroke; it may not. But it won't hurt much to take that aspirin just in case.

I plan to put a post on this same subject, but with Christian specifics, at Junior Partner Ministries Virtual Church this Sunday.



Monday, November 07, 2005

Worthless Blogs


A blog is a cool tool. You get to say what you want (in some countries), and eventually some people may read it.

I've got four blogs. All of them at some point have been called worthless, or worse.

My definition of worthless is an unimaginative rant rag that only repeats attacks or defenses you find elsewhere. - Screaming invective mindlessly repeated by the living dead.

These blogs do get read, by zombies that believe exactly the same thing. They even get comments, usually repeating the same drivel, sometimes in the same slobbering words. Also you may find a comment from a polar opposite that also will not think.

Why write if it is to repeat others, to those that know the versus by heart?

These blogs are of no effect. They change no minds, the inspire no thought.

If you write one these things I have a proposal for you.


Find some area where you disagree with the majority of those that hold your other views.

Post about that.

From you that will get a response of disbelief, and perhaps start to earn you some respect.

Instead of zombies eating your regurgitated organizational song book, perhaps you can attract someone that may think.

You may find that you were in error in some area. Great news - the zombie may become human again.

Perhaps you may find you enjoy thinking.

It only hurts until you get used to it.


Friday, November 04, 2005

Panic Du Jour


I remember as a grade school kid, many decades ago, getting the repeated warning that we were entering a new ice age.


Mankind and civilization as we knew it would be wiped out.

This week it is Bird flu.


Mankind and civilization as we know it will be wiped out.

Maybe this time it is Global Warming, maybe it is politics in the USA, maybe it is other lifestyles or other nationalities. Maybe it is ....


Scientists get more funding if there is a panic, and not all scientists are honest. Politicians get more support if there is a panic, and few politicians would consider honesty. Bureaucrats gain power when there is panic, and they all love power.

Someday something may really go wrong on a global basis. It will probably be a surprise we were not warned about.

In the meantime, think for yourself and:


Enjoy your life.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Not a Team Player

This post will be all over the map; my thoughts are a tangled web.

Perhaps writing them down will give me a basis for future posts, or not.

Team play was required just a few centuries ago. It was really tribal affiliation. If you and your tribe did not willingly commit instantly and sacrificially, the whole tribe might vanish under the clubs of a better team.

In yet earlier days the word for stranger and the word for enemy might be the same. It was safer if they were the same.

It is ok to get excited over your local team, it is ok to be aligned with whatever political party your family is aligned. What is not ok is to let your identity become synonymous with a team. During the industrial age teams became a bloated and manipulative concept. All a "team leader" has to do is proclaim a need and all the zombie followers line up and repeat it, endlessly.

You are already pointing at someone saying "That is who he is talking about." No, I'm talking about me, you; - us. We are the followers that have left our brains at the door of our political, educational, and company slogans.

We are entering a new age, six or seven years ago it was called the free agency age or the information society. We call it Netocracy. Some other name may stick as the age becomes more developed.

"An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents: What does happen is that the opponents gradually die out." - Max Planck, pioneer of quantum theory

Netocracy will not cause the end of teams, but it will cause their size to shrink and their form to be more fluid.

The points of this potential diatribe are twofold.

Start thinking for yourself. Quit reading emotion laden claptrap that re-affirms what you already believe. Don't read the other sides emotional claptrap either. Read logical prose and think about it.

Start to learn how to work in a new system based on knowledge, integrity, adaptability, and action. Get ready for the death of oversized teams, and the emergence of a more personal future.


Don't Cheat Yourself


I have seen businesses that cheat themselves.

I remember a kid I knew when I was young that liked to fool himself. He started by hiding money in his drawers, because it was so fun to find it latter. I remember one time he rang his own front doorbell, ran around and entered the house and answered the door, but no one was there. He had fooled himself and got a kick out of it.

There are a lot of businesses that fool themselves.

They serve an international clientele, but refuse to put up signs that would make life easier for their customers. They treat their employees poorly, that way the employees know who is in charge, and they retain only poor quality, unmotivated employees. They cut service and raise prices, and expect a gullible public will always come back.

It is probably ok for someone that knows better to play silly mind tricks on himself.

It is eventually disastrous for a business to disassociate their business decisions from the reality of their various stakeholders' perception.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.


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