Last updated: November 21, 2015
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Nick Chase has been producing The Contrarian’s View for more than 25 years. He has been especially adept at identifying impending systemic failures and stock market crashes.


  1. -NYSE “Timer’s Trend” signals since 1982

  2. -NASDAQ “Timer’s Trend” signals since 2000

  3. -NYSE raw data

  4. -NASDAQ raw data

  5. -computer program (in Chipmunk BASIC for the Macintosh)

Support Materials

Debt Overhang (1/17/1993)

Report - Barack Obama: Long Form Birth Certificate (6/29/2011), typewriter font analysis I (6/7/2011) and II (7/18/2011), Birth Certificate PDF (color) for inspection, B&W version from AP (4/27/2011)

Guthrie photos: Original I and II and color-corrected I (7/15/2011)

PDF seal, Guthrie seal (7/15/2011)

Pixel v POTUS (Tom Harrison) (7/27/2011)

Birth Certificate pitch test (7/30/2011)

Scanning Analysis by “CM” (8/3/2011)

Discourse and Conflict (Tim Adams’ masters thesis) (8/18/2011)

Arpaio report - Obama BC PDF (3/1/2012)

Zebest report - Obama BC PDF (3/1/2012)

Oblivious to the Obvious (4/10/2012)

How I Learned to Love Savannah Guthrie (4/11/2012)

Birth Certificate Whac-A-Mole (5/30/2012)

What Did Savannah Guthrie Really See? (6/11/2012)

Piercing the Cone of Silence (6/12/2012)

Secrets Revealed (6/15/2012)

Monckton report (6/27/2012)

Were Ann Dunham and Barack Obama Really Married? (7/7/2012)

Arpaio report II (7/17/2012)

Garrett Papit report (7/17/2012)

Zebest report #3 Obama LFBC (7/18/2012)

Phony Document Gives Birth to a Cover-up (7/27/2012)

Long Form Birth Certificate of Obama is a Forged Document (2012)

Obama Built This Forgery (12/24/2012)

Warning: You Are About to Read a “Forbidden” Column (4/4/2013)

The Still-Forgotten Obama Lie (5/14/2013)

Mike Zullo Affidavit (5/19/2013)

Barry Soetoro’s Birth Secret (8/8/2013)

Figures for Birth Secret: BLF, BS, BSP, CN1, DN1, DN2, DP, FDF, FDT, FSO, G1, G2, JSA (2mb), JSA (0.8mb), LHQ, MP1, MP2, MP3, OFS (PDF), OFS, PP, PPA, ROT, RSI, SFA, SSP, SYP (8/8/2013)

Donald “Birther” Trump Is Back! (8/12/2013)

What Reggie Love Had to Say about the Obama Birth Certificate (8/16//2013)

Trump Forced President to Search Mom’s Keepsakes for Birth Certificate (11/9/2013)

Favorite Financial Links

  1. -Fiend SuperBear

  2. -Urban Survival

  3. -The Daily Reckoning

  4. -Financial Sense

  5. -Safe Haven

  6. -Comstock (Thursdays)

  7. -Financial Armageddon

  8. -Gold Eagle

  9. -Peter Grandich

  10. -Acting Man (Pater Tenebrarum)

  11. -Gonzalo Lira

  12. -Mish

Worth Reading

No Bear Market in Gold (5/20/2013)

Gold Slam is a Massive Wealth Transfer fro Our Pockets to the Banks (4/16/2013)

Fed Desperate to Save System (4/3/2013)

Does 1979 newspaper column shed light on 2008 campaign story? (9/23/2012)

How Sturdy Is the Obama Narrative that ‘Keeps Us Silent’? (4/7/2012)

The Rebirth of Birthers? (4/6/2012)

Silence of the Lapdogs (3/22/2012)

More of the Same (9/9/2011)

The Worst Is Yet to Come (9/6/2011)

President’s approval of the American public slips (9/4/2011)

World Economy Hanging by a Thread (9/2/2011)

If You Thought August was Bad... (8/26/2011)

Stock Fear Ceiling (8/26/2011)

The Winds of Change (8/24/2011)

There They Go Again (8/24/2011)

Keynesian Solutions... (8/23/2011)

Boomer Retirement (8/22/2011)

Wall Street Aristocracy Got $1.2 Trillion.. (8/22/2011)

Bernanke’s Worst Nightmare (8/19/2011)

Extraterrestrial Economic Plan... (8/16/2011)

Krugman’s War Cry... (8/16/2011)

Financial Repression of Investors (8/11/2011)

Welcome to the Age of Instability (8/11/2011)

Crony Capitalism at Work (8/11/2011)

Stock Market Decline Just the Beginning (8/10.2011)

Five Things You Need to Know About the Economy (8/2/2011)

Gold and Silver Beyond the Limit (7/29/2011)

Insiders Selling at Unusually Fast Pace (7/29/2011)

This Country Defaulted Long Ago (7/29/2011)

A Thousand Pictures.... (7/27/2011)

Scariest Jobs Chart Ever (7/8/2011)

Feds Force State & Local Government Insolvency (7/7/2011)

The Next, Worse Financial Crisis (7/6/2011)

The Promises That Cannot Be Kept (7/6/2011)

Greece Is a Kleptocracy (6/28/2011)

Lying About Debt Crisis! (6/27/2011)

Why We Are Totally Finished (6/27/2010)


Stock Market & Portfolio Comment

July 14, 2015 - When I wrote my end-of-June comment, it seemed to me at the time that Greece's deteriorating finances would not, by themselves, be a "black swan" event triggering a global financial meltdown of some kind. Since then, things have deteriorated considerably. The latest "agreement" forced upon the Greeks effectively makes Greece a vassal state of Germany, where the Greek people have no say in their future (their majority-"no" vote having been ignored by both the EU and their own leaders) and where their country is sucked dry of its assets and what's left of its economic health.

Let's be honest: Greece will never be able to repay its debtors. You know that, most economists know it, and Germany and the other countries of northern Europe also know it. If Greece were an individual or a company, it would declare bankruptcy, pay off its lenders at 10 or 15 cents on the euro, and start over. As a country it should be able to renounce its debt and start over with a new currency. But it is trapped in the Eurozone, and effectively ruled by central bankers and unelected bureaucrats in Brussels. Turning the Greeks into serfs reminds me of the reparations that Germany paid (or was supposed to pay) to the allies after losing World War I. Failure to meet payments led to French and Belgian occupation of the Rhur (Germany's industrial heartland) in 1923, and to the massive German hyperinflation which destroyed the middle class, and then led to the rise of Hitler. You would think the Germans would be the last people to make such a stupid mistake, with future political consequences unknown but almost guaranteed to be unpleasant.

So why the stubbornness? On the surface, it would appear that the pigheaded politicians are so wedded to the idea of One Europe (financially integrated now, with the objective of eventual political integration) that they refuse to admit defeat even when defeat is inevitable. Or possibly, they feel if they let Greece escape their Euroclutches, that Spain, Portugal and Italy will soon follow.

But I think there's more going on here. To me, the most significant aspect of the "agreement" is that the EU (primarily Germany) refuses to take a haircut on (write down) Greek debt, when this is precisely what Greece needs the most in order to have a fresh start. Why? Because the eurofinancial system cannot withstand a big haircut. In other words, the Eurocrats are risking a likely unstable political situation (and almost-certain breakup of the EU and the euro) in the future because writing down Greek debt today would cause a financial collapse today. The banks are that leveraged, and have that much bad debt, and are so entwined in derivatives, that they cannot survive a declared Greek bankruptcy/haircut.

In addition, we have the Chinese stock markets crash. Bubbles are not a problem when the are blowing up, but when they pop they impoverish the investing masses (the latecomers to the bubble). And the Chinese government and businesses have responded by suspending trading, prohibiting short-selling, and prohibiting large institutions from liquidating their stock holdings. These are all confidence- and liquidity-destroying actions which guarantee an especially severe bear market in Chinese stocks.

In short, world financial distress is on a sharp upswing. The 86-billion-Euro "bailout of Greece" (meaning, the bailout of the banks and countries which lent money to Greece) is already inadequate (ultimately more than 130 billion will be needed), and technically the bailout does not even begin until September (Greece is on life support until then), about the same time Chinese stocks will have regressed to pre-bubble levels. And for that Greek bailout to happen, all of the political requirements have to align - first the Greek parliament must go along with the scheme, then the IMF and the countries of the EU must unanimously agree.

Thus the months of September and October 2015 look like they will be an especially difficult time for financial markets. In 2008, it was quasi-private entities - banks, brokerages and insurance companies - that went belly-up, to be rescued by governments and their central banks. This time around, it is the governments and central banks themselves that are at risk of blowing up, and there is no rescuer of last resort for them.

I currently give about 2:1 odds that the September/October timeframe will see some sort of financial meltdown similar to what happened in 2008, and possibly much worse.

June 29, 2015 - Last December I wrote, expect a January selloff, a spring rally, and a pretty dismal rest of the year for 2015. Well, that was one super-long “spring rally”, actually lasting into the first week of summer. But overall, it wasn’t much of a rally, with “Timer’s Trend” for the Dow essentially whipsawing all year, and with the Dow now negative for the year; while the NASDAQ “Timer’s Trend” has been whipsawing since mid-March, and especially during the last two months.

But the bankruptcy of Greece, long-anticipated but never fully discounted, as you can see from today’s sharp selloff in the markets, is likely the tipping point between bull and bear. (You didn’t think that Germany was going to keep pouring money into Greece forever, did you?) And there were plenty of warnings: The DowTransports and energy stocks have been bearish since last fall; the Advance/Decline lines (on which the “Timer’s Trend” indicators are based) have been bearish for two months; and sentiment indicators, valuations, and margin debt are at historic extremes (from which levels , historically, stocks have yielded negative returns for about a decade).

So my view that the second half of 2015 is going to be really dismal for stock bulls has not changed. Because the bull market in financial assets is so excessive, thanks to government-forced near-zero interest rates, it is exceedingly vulnerable to “black swan” events (like Greece, but Greece isn’t big enough to qualify by itself); but even if we see only white swans in the near future, the trend of financial asset values is still downward. Gold, mining and energy stocks will  likely also be under pressure for a while longer, but risk of war (and disruption of oil supplies) will likely give a boost to energy shares, and gold will soon reassert its countertrend role as real money while the world’s liquidity falls into a debt-eating black hole.

December 27, 2014 -Most investors, speculators and prognosticators see clear sailing and new highs ahead for stocks in 2015. Oil is cheaper, consumers are optimistic, U.S. unemployment is declining, the Fed is currently benign, and corporate earnings are projected to increase. What could possibly go wrong?

A better question to ask might be, what could possibly further go right? Well, the Fed could step on the monetary gas again with a new QE, I suppose, but that seems unlikely at the moment. More frightened money from Europe and the Mideast could flow into our stock market, pressuring prices upward - a real possibility, as our modest stock rise measured in dollars looks like a parabolic rise when measured in rubles or yen - but this has already been largely discounted (linear projection by investors). Or, long-term bond rates could decline even further, pushing more money into stocks in search of yield.

Measure these suppositions against things that have already gone wrong. First, bearishness (pessimism) is at historic lows, both for stocks and precious metals; and history shows that when most everybody is like-minded, storm clouds lie just over the horizon. Stocks are in a Fed-induced bubble and are historically overvalued (in the sense that 5- and 10-year returns from these levels are likely to be nil or negative), thus sensitive to a “pinprick” of bad news or a Black Swan event, though this stock bubble is not as great as NASDAQ in 2000 or real estate in 2008. Europe is (again) tipping into recession - even Germany, Japan’s latest QE program has failed to revive its moribund economy, and the Chinese economy is softening from excess debt loads. Real household wealth in the U.S. continues its decade-plus long decline. Also, the world’s largest banks still remain technically insolvent (when their assets are marked to market), yet they persist in excessive derivatives trading.

Finally, we have the warnings issued by the stock market itself. The October and December abrupt and scary plunges, complete with significant Hindenburg omens, are not “normal” corrections but are symptomatic of a stock market that is ready to, and wants to plunge at the least excuse, perhaps to then be “rescued” by the Fed buying stock-index futures. Well, that situation can’t last forever. Maybe we’ll see a few more of these scary plunges before the plunge that finally announces the bear market has arrived, but arrive it will. You should recognize these abrupt plunges and recoveries for what they are - warning signals for a stock market which is at a generational top, like the rumblings of a volcano before it erupts. And you don’t want to get caught in the hot-ash cloud or lava flow.

December 14, 2014 - Bear Market Warning: In my September 22 “crash warning” I noted that the odds were about 1 in 4 for an autumn crash, 1 in 4 for a correction followed by new highs, and 1 in 2 for a bear market with no crash. Well, would you believe all three (a prediction containing choices that is still 100% accurate)? We got a very sharp correction which sure felt like a crash, then a surge to new highs, now in December it looks like we’re (finally!) tipping into a bear market after a money-printing-induced bull that has lasted almost six years.

A second Hindenburg Omen (as tracked by McHugh) on December 2 foretold the current unpleasantness, but this time with more extreme indicators which indicate a market tipping point. Additionally, both the NYSE and NASDAQ “Timer’s Trend” indicators have given essentially coincident SELL signals, another tipping-point indicator.

Now six-year-old bull markets usually don’t die quietly, so expect extreme volatility and thrashing about, as various sectors of the stock market are taken out and shot one by one (see: oil). Currently, the asset deflation is overpowering central-government money printing; this time, perhaps we are finally reaching the “end game” where further money-printing by the world’s central banks will be only counterproductive. Recall that in 2008 and 2009 it was “private” (quasi-governmental) institutions that were on the verge of going belly-up, and governments rushed in to bail them out. This time it is the governments themselves in risk of going belly-up, though technically they cannot go bankrupt in a fiat-money world.

It is unusual for bear markets to begin in December (Ho! Ho! Ho!), so don’t expect it. January is another matter - a month when bears frequently announce themselves. Expect a January selloff, a spring rally, and a pretty dismal rest of the year for 2015.

Except for gold and gold stocks. It looks like gold may have finally bottomed, and the gold mining stocks will bottom out as tax-loss-selling ends, before the end of this month. So, 2015 will also feature a countertrend rally in precious metals shares within the 2015 bear.

September 22, 2014 - Crash Warning:  A most unusual pattern has just occurred in the stock market - both the NYSE and NASDAQ “Timer’s Trend” signals have turned negative, even while the corresponding averages continued to probe new highs. The new highs came on decreasing volume (as compared to robust volume on prior highs) and with fewer stocks hitting new highs. I also see what appears to be the arrival of a bear market in my own portfolios (not just the gold stocks, which are a niche investment, but in most all of the other stocks except utilities). It looks like the long, rolling market peak is tapped out, and a correction or bear market is now here.

Additionally, as of September 19 we have a confirmed Hindenburg Omen (as tracked by Robert McHugh) in stocks. Now, the Hindenburg Omen is notoriously poor in predicting subsequent market declines, which have ranged from minimal or nonexistent, to crashes. However, all stock market crashes have been preceded by Hindenburg Omens; so when the market is weak and this weakness is preceded by a Hindenburg Omen, caution is suggested.

What’s going on here? We know that this ridiculously-overpriced market is a direct result of the Fed’s money printing (by virtue of its open-market purchases of bonds). In addition, turmoil in Europe and the Mideast has caused foreign money, looking for a safe haven, to flow into U.S. stocks. Now the Fed is ending its bond-buying program, and as the existing bonds in the Fed’s portfolio mature and are paid off, the effective money supply shrinks.

This is deflationary (that is, asset-deflationary), and will put downward pressure on all stocks, but especially money-substitutes (such as gold and resource stocks) until something “breaks” and frightened money then drives the gold stocks higher, while bank and other asset-poor stocks crumble. Think of this period as similar to the summer of 2008, the calm before the financial system nearly collapsed. Recall what Hyman Minsky told us.... fiat monetary systems become increasingly unstable until they eventually break apart.

With the Hindenburg Omen in effect and with stocks seemingly unable to push further into bubble territory, I give about 1-in-4 odds that the next few weeks will see a market “crash” (a sharp and steep price decline), about 2 in 4 odds that stocks will enter a bear market without a crash, and 1 in 4 odds that stocks will briefly correct, then lunge higher. This is not a “prediction”, just an alert notice, as I feel that stocks are far more likely to decline than rise for the next month or two.

June 11, 2014 - MAD Magazine nails it:

May 28, 2014:  Be sure to check out the new “Depletion IRA” portfolio, created on May 20, in “The Contrarian’s View Portfolios”.

About five weeks ago I got this request from Mark Hulburt:

Hi—my WSJ editors have asked me to focus on those newsletters I monitor who have beaten the stock market so far this year, focusing on any common themes in their approaches and outlooks. Your letter is one of them.

So I am hoping to get a few comments from you about:

(a)    What it is about the current stock market that has been particularly sympathetic to your investing style

(b)   Do you think this situation will continue

  1. (c)   What are you forecasting for the overall market for the remainder of this year

I checked Mark’s publicly-posted writings for the next two weeks and didn’t see my comments appear, so I guess they were for the benefit of paying subscribers only. I don’t see why The Hulbert Digest’s paying subscribers should have the benefit of my wisdom(!) while my loyal readers are left out in the cold, so here’s my reply to Mark:

Hi Mark,

I wasn't aware I was outperforming "the market" this year because, as you know, my portfolios are real, my wife and are retired, and we extract the dividends for living expenses -- whereas I assume you "reinvest" the dividends when tracking my portfolios so you can properly compare them with other letters' portfolios. (Let's not talk about last year! Ugh!)

However, I have no special short-term strategy; I have a long-term strategy, which is: when the government (indeed, all world governments) is debasing the currency like crazy, it's better to be invested in physical assets, such as oil and gold - or whatever the government can't print - for long-term preservation of wealth. Investing in financial-based assets (big banks, mortgaged real estate, etc.) is faith-based investing -- faith that the financial/government entities won't blow up the system again the way they did in 2008. Long-term, that's a bad bet; all fiat monetary systems eventually self-destruct.

For the rest of the year, I see gold/precious metal stocks bottoming (again) by summer, with a long, multi-year rise thereafter. Oil and gas stocks will trend upward due to the increasingly unstable international political situation. Other types of stocks, I see a severe correction in the latter half of 2014. By the end of this year, either the ongoing asset deflation will overwhelm the Fed's money-printing efforts and we will embark on a multiyear bear market, or the Fed will "win" and we will have another inflationary stock feeding frenzy. I don't know which scenario will win out, but I expect "Timer's Trend" will give the correct signal.

December 31, 2013:  Technically, the stock market is not in a bubble, because it has the continuing influx of Fed-printed money pushing it higher, and because corporations have been able to maintain profit margins. In reality, the current market is unstable, because its valuations do not reflect the grim reality of a stagnant economy, with declining real incomes and high unemployment and underemployment - a reality partly disguised by bogus or meaningless government statistics. The reward-to-risk ratio for remaining in stocks now is very poor, except for those that have been in their own private bear market, such as precious-metals mining stocks. Nobody can say exactly when the Fed’s money-printing will fail Wall Street, but fail it will.

December 20, 2013 - Blowoff  top:  It looks like stocks will have a “blowoff top” likely extending into January. At the same time, there is little money chasing after (paper) gold or gold stocks, and while there may be a modest recovery in these when this year’s tax-loss selling is over, I don’t expect a new bull market in mining shares until stocks the money-managers love enter their next bear market -- likely in January, the bear triggered by rising interest rates..

2014 is shaping up to be the year “the chickens come home to roost”. Anemic economy, Obamacare disasters, inscrutable foreign policy, “too big to fail” big banks playing derivatives games again, unsustainable debt levels by the U.S. and foreign governments and by banks, out-of-control entitlement spending, money printed to benefit the ruling classes while Main Street suffers. All of which leads to rising discontent and strife and breakdown of social systems, even war.

Maybe the 2014 midterm elections will provide a correction, but it’s more likely too many people are now on the dole for us reverse course, and we will instead careen toward a new financial, political, or international disaster.

Radical Islam is ascendent and Western culture is in decline. Should there be war, there is no guarantee the “good guys” (fighters for freedom) will win. Ask the Romans.

August 30, 2013 - The rogue:  In contemplating an act of war on Syria, here’s what Obama lacks that the “cowboy” Bush obtained for Iraq in advance. 1. Allies. 2. U.N. resolution. 3. Congressional approval, as required by the Constitution. 4. Popular support. 5. An explanation and justification to the American people. 6. A plan of attack whose nature and timing was not revealed to the enemy in advance. 7. A valid military objective that would shift the balance of power. 8. Money to pay for it.

The mideast is a tinderbox, and I have long worried that some tinpot or theocratic dictator might light a match there that would risk setting off World War III. It never occurred to me that the crackpot might be our own U.S. president, elected autocrat Barack Obama, who threatens to (illegally) act alone with virtually no support from any corner, and dragging a reluctant military along with him.

August 23, 2013 - Look Out Below!   The stock market’s “internals” are not nearly as bullish as the averages hovering near recent highs would have you believe. The advance/decline line peaked in May, highs versus lows peaked in early summer, and the majority of stocks are in either neutral or bearish trading patterns while some large-cap stocks, perhaps abetted by high-frequency trading, keep the popular averages propped up. “Timer’s Trend” for both the NYSE and NASDAQ are on sell signals, but choppy, characteristic of a peaking market. Most significantly, home mortgage and auto-loan rates have risen sharply and are crimping consumer purchases. There are leading indications that unemployment is about to rise sharply, and that the economy started to fall off a cliff beginning in August and will continue to do so in September and October. Obamacare continues to be a depressant on hiring and business expansion, as its implementation deadlines approach.

Stocks are priced to perfection, and it wouldn’t take much more than a simple change in attitude for stocks to tank. If the economy simultaneously slips into (a deeper) recession, then a random “black swan” (unexpected) event could bring on another financial panic similar to 2008/2009.

Gold and silver (along with their related mining stocks) are in a new bull market, but they may still suffer in the coming correction. If the about-to-happen bear market is a standard one, one that happens because the economy gets sicker, then gold and silver may also correct until the Fed opens the money spigots even wider. If the bear includes a whiff of panic, then the precious metals and their stocks will take off for the moon.

May 26, 2013 -  On February 10 I wrote that the stock market was forming a very major top, likely to peak in February or March. I left myself a weasel out, saying the rally could extend into late April or May (as it seasonally does in most years), but I didn’t think so. So since I don’t think of myself as a weasel, let’s just say that I got that one wrong, as I again stick out my neck and say that I think this pretty powerful, Fed-money-printing bull is just about done, at least for the short term (next few months). Same thing for the bond market. Wait for the “Timer’s Trend” confirmations for both the NYSE and NASDAQ to be sure, though.

May 6, 2013 -  The subject of what happened in Benghazi is about to reappear in the nation’s news outlets (even in the dinosaur media) as Congressional hearings featuring testimony by  survivors of the attack, and by intelligence whistleblowers, get underway. Last October I wrote, “Americans died in Benghazi while Washington watched but sent no relief. All to preserve the fiction that al-Qaeda is ‘on the run’. Any American aware of these facts cannot help but be outraged. (But if you rely only on the dinosaur media for your news, you are clueless, as they are not fully reporting this story in order to protect the Obama administration.) Somebody -- and the finger currently points to Obama or Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, or both -- is a moral monster.”

Using new information provided by reporter Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard and by the House Oversight Committee, blogger Doug Ross has provided a timeline in graphic format of Benghazi events, shown below:

(This is a .gif file which you can download to your computer and enlarge to read details.)

From reviewing the timeline it appears to me that (a) Hillary Clinton lied under oath to Congress, (b) Barack Obama went to bed while theBenghazi consular outpost was under attack, and (c) the government lied to the public about the nature and extent of the attack, falsely claiming it resulted from the production of an anti-Islamofascist movie trailer, purely for political reasons.

Which raises the question: To where do you escape when your government becomes corrupt?

April 19, 2013 -  Before last Friday (April 12) I would have relegated theories that the gold market is manipulated to tinfoil-hat status. But last Friday’s, followed by Monday’s, near-$200 collapse in the price of gold was simply too obvious a bear raid to ignore. The conspiracy theorists are right.

The objectives of the raid, of course, were to (a) make money for the big players doing the short-selling, and (b) kill off the public’s desire to possess gold/precious metals (which are real money, of course, as they are a store of value) as an alternative to the fiat crap being shoveled out of the world’s central banks.

The first objective was clearly successful. The second, not.... and this forced gold panic is leading to unforeseen consequences not anticipated by the geniuses trying to kill off the love of gold. You can see this in the physical market for gold, where supplies remain tight, and in the silver market, where supplies (especially coin blanks) are slim to nonexistent. (The gold price crash was triggered by nighttime high-frequency computerized trading in the COMEX paper [futures] market, where settlement can be in cash rather than taking delivery.) The lower gold price has actually generated increased buying interest in physical gold, especially in India and Asia. (Clearly, there are some folks who just don’t trust central banks and their paper.)

Additionally, the suddenness of the collapse of a commodity price (which is how gold is mostly viewed) and the labeling of gold as a “bubble” (which it was not) may have spooked investors into being leery of all bubbling assets, like stocks. Possibly the Fed has actually triggered renewed fears of deflation and the stock-market decline that it has been so egregiously postponing with its money-printing bonanza.

As for another slam-down in the immediate future.... unlikely. These work best at the tail end of a long bearish trend, when investors in the market being raided are already very disillusioned. After the panic, there’s no place lower to go (unless fundamentals change). Prices must be allowed to rise again, then investors must again turn pessimistic for these raids to be so spectacularly successful.

April 16, 2013 -  In the latest article added to the “Worth Reading” section in the right-hand column, Chris Martenson describes how the gold market was slammed downward (most likely by the Fed, or by coordinated central bank / big player action) to refresh the coffers of the “bullion banks” at the expense of ordinary investors’ retirement portfolios.

I had wondered if something like this might be coming after George Soros reduced his gold holdings last December (presumably to short the yen). Then in January, hedge funds lightened up on gold, then in March big banks advised their clients to be bearish on gold. Do you think any of these folks might have had an advance warning of the slam-down? Especially George Soros, who was a major contributor to the Obama re-election effort? Nah, I must be paranoid.

At any rate, when you see the big boys, those who are able to profit from their own “forecasts” (by virtue of advance knowledge and self-fulfilling prophecy), it may be wise to pay attention and to expect a raid on your assets.

Shown below: Gold is trading at 4.5 standard deviations below its 50-day moving average, the most extreme level since 1975! If you can live with the Fed’s slam-downs, it’s a bargain.

April 13, 2013 - They’re ringing a bell for gold stocks: In the chart below, you can see that the ratio of gold mining stock prices to the price of gold is at historic lows, lower than in the financial panic of the autumn of 2008!

And the price of gold itself is currently very depressed from its 2012 highs. Additionally, the ratio of insider buying to selling in gold mining stocks is 7:1.

These extremes do not guarantee an immediate turnaround in gold and mining stocks, but those who buy when most everything (on the surface) looks very bearish generally fare well in the long run. The only real hazard I see is that buyers may be “fighting the Fed”, and the Fed still carries a lot of clout. When the Fed finally fails, the failure will probably be at first gradual, then escalate into a crash/collapse. The failure may first show up as rising gold prices, because the Fed cares much less about keeping the price of gold depressed than it does about keeping bond prices elevated.

April 9, 2013 - For some time I have been puzzled by the “signals” being sent by gold (and gold shares), which have not responded to the Fed’s money-printing as have world stock markets and, to a lesser extent, energy prices and commodities. Is gold signaling a massive sudden financial collapse and asset deflation ahead, or are the world’s central banks “winning” with their money-printing, sending investors into paper assets?

Then I read an explanation that finally makes sense, and I have posted the article in the right-hand column. In “Former US Treasury Official - Fed Desperate To Save System”, former Treasury Department official (in the Reagan administration) Paul Craig Roberts says that the Fed is short-selling gold in an effort to make the dollar look strong, to maintain the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency, and thus to help keep bond prices high and interest rates low in spite of the massive money-printing. He should be in a position to know if the Fed is capable of doing this, and if they are indeed doing so.

If this is truly part of the Fed’s “program”, then for as long as the Fed can keep the bond bubble going, the price of gold may not rise very far, if at all. But when the Fed finally fails -- and we know it will -- then we also now know that gold prices (having been artificially depressed) will take off upward with a vengeance, not collapse into a deflationary abyss with other (paper) assets.

March 19, 2013 - The proposal to bail out Cyprus’ government by stealing up to 9.9% of depositors’ money in Cypriot banks was stupid to the extreme.... unless the monetary powers were deliberately trying to trigger a crisis! The objective was to capture some of the hot Russian money invested there, but by nicking even the smallest savers the proposal sent a much stronger message: Your money in the bank is not safe. It can be stolen by politicians at their whim.

The proposal was defeated by Cyprus’ legislature and is now on hold, with that nation’s banks still closed and on “holiday” until next Tuesday while the idiots dream up another scheme. But the messages sent are very clear: The €100,000 deposit insurance is worthless. Cyprus had become somewhat of an investment safe haven and banking center (like Lebanon in the 1950s); that has now died. (The hot Russians will be taking their money elsewhere.) Banks are an extension of the government, and when the politicians run into financial trouble by overspending, they will steal your money. If you live in one of the southern European countries waiting to be bailed out (Spain, Portugal, Italy), you would be foolish to leave your money in your country’s bank, because money will not be stolen from: Brokerage accounts, trusts, insurance annuities, banks in “safe”  (solvent) countries, international funds. That is, the “rich” who can diversify their assets internationally will escape; ordinary folks are sitting ducks for plundering. Why would anybody in a “risky” country want to keep money in a bank after this? (Answer: They won’t.)

February 21, 2013 - It is very possible that yesterday's sharp, almost-panicked selloff in gold and gold shares is a solid bottom (at least for the intermediate term) of the kind seen last summer, which preceded a good-sized rally. Interesting if so, because this goes against the seasonal trend of weaker gold/gold stock prices in the spring and summer, stronger prices in the fall and winter. (I bought more - see portfolios - so I hope so.)

February 10, 2013 - Bullish sentiment is at extremes, corporate insiders are selling over buying at a 9-to-1 ratio, and very large bets have been placed (by unknown big players) on a market crash before mid-April. A very major stock market top is now being made, with the final highs likely to be in February or March (could extend to late April or May, but I don't think so). It's time to become prepared for the next economic downturn and bear market.

January 3, 2013 - Everybody jeer for the tax increase: If I were a Republican congressman, I would have voted for the Fiscal Cliff-averting legislation, in spite of its being negotiated behind closed doors, and in spite of its very-last-minute, panicky construction. The reason? Because after all of the posturing was done, and recognizing that the Democrats were determined to raise taxes on somebody, at the very end there were really only two stark choices: Either get the Democrats on board with a plan in which the damage was minimized as much as they would permit, or allow the economy-crushing pre-2001 tax rates to return. Not much of a choice. If this made Republicans look bad, well, the damage was done years ago when the “cliff” was created in the first place.

However, in a way conservatives won the war, because the current low rates for most people were made permanent, the alternative minimum tax “patch” was (hopefully) permanently repaired, and high thresholds before estate taxes cut in were retained.  (“Permanent” means “when Congress is out of session, or until it decides to change things again.”) A lot of uncertainty has been removed from the system, and that’s good for economic growth.

As a revenue-raising device, it’s a bust, because “the rich” will alter their behavior to avoid getting hosed. The higher marginal tax rates might bring in $15 billion annually, and the higher estate tax rate another $15 billion. That doesn’t even pay for the $40 billion of crapola pork put into the bill under pressure from lobbyists.

The significant tax increase is in what the bill didn’t address - the expiration of the payroll tax rate reduction for the past two years. Employees’ Social Security withholding goes from 4.2% to 6.2%, to bring an additional $115 billion annually into the government’s coffers. (This is probably as it should be, as Social Security is a “money-in, money-out” system which should maintain balance to remain solvent.) So Joe Sixpack is delighted that the dreaded fiscal cliff has been avoided by taxing only the rich, but when he gets his next weekly paycheck he finds it’s $25 less. Nice shaft job, Congress.

There are three ways to shrink government. The first is by starving it of revenue; and given how the “fiscal cliff” was constructed, I think Republicans did about as well as could be expected. The second is to actually cut Federal spending; and here the Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, clearly have the upper hand, because no modification of the sequestration (budget cuts) now scheduled for March 1 can happen without their support. (If they fail in holding the line on this, they should be fired and replaced in 2014.) The third is to turn off the Federal Reserve’s printing presses, and I see no possibility of that in the foreseeable future.

So the path to economic ruin is clearly laid out for you. A bare majority of the country wants profligate government, but nobody (including the profligate folks) really wants to pay for it. (If they had to pay for it, they probably wouldn’t want it after all.) As U.S creditworthiness declines interest rates will rise (bond vigilantes at work!), and we will enter the Grecian “death spiral” of bad debt. Then the Fed will crank up the printing presses (again) to pay for it all, and the dollar will enter a race to the bottom with the world’s other paper currencies, each vying to see which will get there first. Thus will Ludwig von Mises’ observation again be fulfilled: “There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as a result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final total catastrophe of the currency involved.”

The outcome we know; the timing we do not -- though I think the next two years (2013 and 2014) are the most likely time for some sort of rapid economic degeneration.

December 25, 2012 - Fiscal Cliff watch: As January 1 approaches, there are currently two partly-passed bills which could be quickly reworked and signed into law to avoid the “fiscal cliff”. One is in the House, which makes permanent the current tax brackets and rates (and kicks the can down the road on spending cuts). The other is in the Senate, which extends the lower tax brackets and rates only. Neither appears to extend the 2% payroll tax cut (which will revert from 4.2% for employees to 6.2%). The Senate bill does not address the “AMT patch”, which affects 2012 tax returns, or estate tax and dividends and capital gains issues. So even if a compromise were reached before January 1, it would likely still mean an increase in money being transferred out of your pocket and to the government in 2013.

My own opinion? The politicians (except possibly for Mr.Obama) are fully aware that the country is broke, and that we are pretty much out of options. They all know that spending must be curtailed. Some of them are willing to accept tax-rate increases, though the added tax revenue would not be as much as expected, would put us further into recession, and would throw more people out of work. Nobody now remembers who voted the legislation that created this “cliff” in the first place. So the easiest approach is to do nothing.... go over the cliff, stick it to the middle class and near-poor, and point the finger of blame at the other guy.

If we do indeed go over the cliff, I think investors expect Congress to fix the problem for the great majority of taxpayers early in 2013. As the squabbling continues and nothing much happens, investors will become disillusioned and stocks will sink. We may well have seen the bull-market peak in mid-September 2012. If there is a short-term tax fix, expect a secondary peak early in the new year.

In spite of the “soak-the-rich” rhetoric thrown around by the demagogues, going over the cliff hits the near-poor the hardest. A family struggling on $30K a year will see income taxes go up about $800 as the 10% tax bracket is eliminated, and payroll taxes go up by about $600, for a total of about $1400, or about 4.7% of gross income. Next to be hurt are the people in high-income states who will be caught by the alternative minimum tax, then retirees, then the children of farmers who die.

November 9, 2012 - Sam’s rant: My brother posted this post-election rant on his Facebook page yesterday, and I thought it deserves to be disseminated to a wider audience.

This is in answer to Tom Gilroy's post, wherein he expresses his concern that we are a nation in decline as our freedoms are slowly eroded by the elites in our government, and that our two-party system has lost its effectiveness.

Tom, do not get discouraged. Many of us still believe in "American exceptionalism" and the concept that hard work, honesty, sacrifice and charity will lead to a better life for all. I believe that political fluctuations are cyclical, and that eventually we will wake up before we have lost all our freedoms.

Unfortunately the Federal & State governments have lost their way. The concept of acting as an impartial "umpire" to insure that all play by the same rules has morphed into a massive bureaucratic juggernaut whose main objective is to regulate economic activity, control people's lives, create dependency, thereby ensuring that their high-paying political jobs survive. What they cannot enact legislatively they impose through the courts under the guise of a "living" constitution that incorporates the new legal standard of review called "means testing." Our forefathers would be appalled.

These arrogant narcissists honestly (apparently) believe that they are smarter than millions of Americans going about their business in a still somewhat free marketplace. Are any of the high-profile politicians in either party really in touch with average Americans? Instead of regulating the things that ought to be regulated (making sure that commerce thrives in an environment of many competitive businesses, for example), they act to stifle competition and promote concentrations of wealth in large global businesses for the benefit of a few and their political allies. Both parties do this, not just Republicans, as is alleged by our current administration. Reps & Dems are equally guilty; just look at the list of Obama and Romney contributors. The notion that an Obama Administration is going to "level" Wall Street is laughable. A lot of very wealthy CEOs and financiers contributed millions to Obama and high-profile Democrats.

To paraphrase a great Democrat (sorry Tom) President (H. Truman), a man who understood that the greatness of the American experiment has as its core components the concepts of personal and economic freedom, "10,000 corner hardware stores are just 10,000 times better for the economy than One Home Depot." Truman was an old time Democrat who believed in worker's rights and entrepreneurial rights, in other words, a fair shake for all. He was optimistic about the American experiment and promoted the American Dream. Equality of opportunity, not the "equality of result" that seems to be the current objective.

Today our national leaders believe in a "shake-down" of the producers to redistribute to those whom they promote as victims. Somehow all the personal qualities I mentioned above that used to be considered virtuous goals have become the attributes of suckers and chumps, and our country has become Balkanized into various "victim" and minority groups who, it is alleged by our “caretakers,” can't possibly succeed because "the system is rigged against them." We look to our leaders for inspiration, encouragement, and guidance, but all too often get selfish narcissism and finger-pointing instead of balanced solutions. We must stop looking to the Nanny State to resolve all our problems, take charge and get back to the basic virtues that made this country and its people great.

Even my wife, the resident household liberal, agreed with this. I also agree, except that if the Federal and state governments have lost their way, then a majority of the people have also lost their way, because they vote these clowns into office (for as long as the elections remain honest). Far more people who have lived on this earth have been born, lived and died under tyranny then the relative few who lived under freedom. This is what makes the U.S. “exceptional” - the understanding that our freedoms derive from God and nature, and the state exists to guarantee those freedoms, not to subvert them. When the voting majority fails to support this basic concept, then we become serfs of the state, forced to cope as best we can in a corrupt nation.

Countries can and do go down the tubes. Argentina was the fifth richest nation in the world in the early 1900s, but it was ruined by the Peronistas, and has struggled since. Cuba was a somewhat prosperous dictatorship in the 1950s, but when Castro and the communists took over they turned it into a tyrannical basket case. Rhodesia was prosperous under British colonial rule, but corrupt self-government caused an exodus of (or the murder of) prosperous folks and turned a country rich in natural resources into the economically-destroyed dictatorship of Zimbabwe. Venezuela under the elected dictator Chavez is rapidly deteriorating economically and formerly-guaranteed individual freedoms have largely disappeared. Chavez has only 55% support (if the elections are to be believed), but that’s enough to keep the entire country in misery. (Just as Obama has only 52% support, but....)

History does not demonstrate that political fluctuations are cyclical, as far as the longevity of freedom is concerned. Rather, it shows that the lifespan of democratic republics in which the state is subservient to the individual is about 200 years. The Roman republic, Spanish empire, British commonwealth; and now the American era. Our time may be up. If I am wrong about this, then would somebody please give me a historical example of a nation which ascended into freedom and prosperity, then descended into tyranny, then cyclically returned to freedom again? I can’t think of any.

The age of the truly exceptional American empire may in fact be ending. Learn to cope.

November 7, 2012 - after the election: A billion dollars spent on a presidential election (and much more if you include the lesser contests), only to give us more of the same. Gridlock - Republican House, Democrat Senate, lazy and incompetent (except for campaigning) Marxist president. Kick the can down the road, the voters said.

Unfortunately for the voters, the problems we’ll soon need to face didn’t go away. The economy simply won't be able to take the strain from exceedingly bad policy decisions: “Fiscal cliff”, economically destructive Obamacare, killer regulations, no budget, trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, negative energy policy, weak (pro-islamofascist) foreign policy, Social Security and Medicare on the way to bankruptcy, porous southern border, sycophant dinosaur press. Mitt Romney as president might have been able to reverse course; but with the current setup continuing, it won’t happen. The politicians are too spineless. Greece - or Argentina - or Venezuela - is our future.

Commentators seem to see this as a “Republican vs. Democrat” divide. I see it more as a divide between those Americans who know that the U.S. is on a suicide path - likely mostly older folks, people who built their own success stories, people who want a bright future for their grandchildren - and the others (a bare majority), who either can’t see that our current trajectory is leading us to ruin, or do see it but simply don’t care; they think things will work out somehow. (As Rush Limbaugh put it, “It is practically impossible to beat Santa Claus.”)

For the latter, their education will be a hard experience. (See Greece.) And all of us (and maybe the entire world) will suffer while they learn.

Psychologists warned of “post-election depression” for people on the losing end. I wouldn’t say I became depressed; I certainly am discouraged that more people don’t see the danger looming ahead. It took me awhile to figure out just how I do feel.... and I settled on fearful, because for the first time in my investment life, I’m stumped. In a society in financial decline the days of buy-and-hold-forever in the stock market are gone. Bonds are a really bad bet because they will quickly tank whenever inflation reasserts itself - or the bond buyers disappear - and interest rates rise again. Yields from bank deposit accounts are pitiful. My wife and I are retirees dependent on interest and dividend income, and we are being screwed by the government’s (Federal Reserve’s) policy of suppressing short-term rates. Then the government screws us again with policies that discourage economic growth and keep dividends from pacing price inflation. Then we are screwed a third time with printed fiat money, which keeps stock and commodity prices at bubble-levels and vulnerable to panic declines. There is really no profitably safe place left for investors to put their money.

The ultimate beneficiary will be gold and gold-related investments, when the fiat money system blows up (fiat monetary systems always do.... only the timing is in question), but in the meantime yields on such investments are low.

In sum, I know we are on the road to financial.... and probably societal.... disaster, with no really good way to protect the assets we do have, at meaningful yields, in the meantime. Suggestions, anybody?

October 29, 2012 - Benghazi: Here are the highlights of what we currently know about the 9/11 terrorist attack on our consular outpost in Benghazi, Libya. There was no preceding spontaneous demonstration in response to a video trailer almost nobody has seen for a movie that doesn’t exist. About 90 Islamofascists attacked the embassy beginning at 9:40 PM, using sophisticated weaponry in a clearly preplanned attack on a significant date. The battle raged for almost seven hours. During that time the outpost was in constant contact with Washington. An overhead drone fed live video of the attack back to the Defense Department and the White House situation room, so there can be no excuse that officials in Washington didn’t know what was going on.

An AC-130u gunship (airplane) was in the area but not deployed. More help was only three hours away, in southern Italy. Three requests for military assistance from the CIA annex nearby were denied (by Washington), and CIA operatives were told to “stand down” and not assist in defending the consulate. Apparently two SEALS disobeyed this order, went to the consulate, and lost their lives defending it so that others might escape. The CIA unequivocally states it did not issue any “stand down” orders.

Americans died in Benghazi while Washington watched but sent no relief. All to preserve the fiction that al-Qaeda is “on the run”.

Any American aware of these facts cannot help but be outraged. (But if you rely only on the dinosaur media for your news, you are clueless, as they are not fully reporting this story in order to protect the Obama administration.) Somebody -- and the finger currently points to Obama or Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, or both -- is a moral monster.

September 27, 2012 - I don’t usually have political bumper stickers on my car - because I think most politicians are lower than dirt - but this November’s election is critical to the future direction of the country and I felt it was time to put my opinions on view. Problem is, I’m not “for” any politician as much as I’m opposed to any current or potential turkey who greases the path toward fascism and slavery. None of the commercially-available bumper stickers, or any of those available from the candidates, really expressed how I feel. So I designed and ordered my own.

For (actually, against) Granny Warren (US Senate seat vs. incumbent Scott Brown):

Against Barack Obama:

The above anti-Obama sticker is really a specialized interest, because relatively few people are aware that the “birth certificate” PDF that Obama released is a forgery, as was determined by many different experts in documentation, including me. But it clearly expresses how I feel - how could anybody possibly vote for a man who would lie about his own identity, via forged birth certificate and forged draft card?

September 23, 2012:

September 6, 2012 - The best line in speeches at the Democrat convention (sorry, no picture for this one): I have seen firsthand that being president doesn’t change who you are, it reveals who you are. - Michelle Obama. (That’s for sure -- the self-vetting president -- something the lazy, suckup, liberal-slanted media didn’t do in 2008.)

September 2, 2012 - The best line in speeches at the Republican convention (excluding Clint Eastwood’s shtick):

(Photo from Big Government, reproduced here under fair use copyright restrictions.)

August 31, 2012 - The following three pictures of imaginative political campaign signs were taken recently in Hanson, Mass. You decide if they are (1) coarse or racist, (2) clever, (3) accurate, or (4) all three. (Mitt Romney’s conventional -- indeed, traditional up to the past few years -- campaign positions do not lend themselves to ridicule, but if I see any similar signs razzing Mitt, I’ll post them here.) And yes, there are a few Republicans still residing in Taxachusetts. Photo source credit: Globe & Mail, London.

August 24, 2012 - Last Wednesday night an investor friend asked me when the stock market was going to head south... it’s long overdue! I told him that market pricing is based on international money flows, and I thought the US was currently somewhat of a “safe haven”, as Europe is deeper into its recession and is in tougher shape. (China, too.) And at any rate, the last two weeks of August tend to be uneventful because so many Wall Street types are on vacation. But at the end of August and in September, when colder weather arrives and people are reminded we’re heading into winter, and when the kids go back to school, and as the pleasant memories of summer fade under work pressures, the mood turns (more) sour. September has the reputation of being the ugliest stock-market month of the year (followed by October), and I expect the same to be true this year.

I wouldn’t be too pessimistic beyond early October, though, if it becomes likely Mitt Romney will whup our current turkey-of-a-president, as the psychology is currently right for people to become more hopeful about the future. At least, until 2013 when the bills come due. (Caveat: If Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear facilities in October, the resultant possibility of a wider Mideast war would be very bearish for the market.)

August 11, 2012 - in calculating the data for this week I realized something remarkable about the indicators that I don’t ever recall seeing before: A divergence exists between the NYSE “Timer’s Trend” and the NASDAQ “Timer’s Trend” that has persisted for at least three weeks - and one could fairly say, for almost two months.

The NYSE indicator turned bullish on June 15, 2012 (at Dow 12767; currently the Dow is 13208). The NASDAQ indicator turned bearish on July 20, 2012 (at NASDAQ 2925; currently the NASDAQ is 3021), but from looking at the data a good argument could be made that the NASDAQ indicator has essentially been whipsawing since a solid sell signal on May 3, 2012 at NASDAQ 3024.

Remember, “Timer’s Trend” is an exponential moving average... that is, a “smoothed-out” indicator of the trend of the market. The indicators are telling us that the NYSE is currently bullish, while the NASDAQ is weakly bearish.

What does this mean? The NYSE has the larger, more stable, and more internationally-diversified companies; the NASDAQ has the smaller, more inventive and more recession-sensitive companies. So this probably reflects a “flight to safety” (into more defensive stocks) because investors expect another economic downturn directly ahead. This also probably means a major market top (which can extend over many months) is being formed.

July 29, 2012 - via Peter Grandich:

July 28, 2012 - While entering the data for calculating “Timer’s Trend” for this week, I noticed that the markets are under quite a bit of stress... large numbers of both new highs and lows in the same day on the NYSE, for example, and “Timer’s Trend for the NYSE has been on a buy signal for the past six weeks (without much effect), while for the NASDAQ it whipsawed, followed by a sell signal (essentially) for the past two weeks. These stress periods usually resolve to the downside for a month or two; sometimes the downturn is mild, but more often it is severe (15% or more). In these stress-relieving bearish jags most all stocks go down except for precious metals, which benefit from a flight to safety.

The likely cause? Things start to spiral out of control in Europe (attempted bailout of Spain, with Italy in the wings), and investors realize at last that the synchronous global recession has finally reached U.S. shores and things aren’t going to get better anytime soon. And our turkey of a president won’t be able to jawbone us into prosperity.

This would be an unusual pattern for an election year. In most election years stocks rise to about the November election time, before correcting in the following year. But that’s because in most previous election years the Fed’s printed money was timed to goose the economy into the election. Now that we’re in a modern depression (defined as: The value of the stuff you own goes down, while the cost of stuff you need to live goes up), Fed money-printing is harmful.

July 1, 2012 - From Peter Grandich (also appeared at

June 29, 2012 - Obamacare mandate: I see that by the Supreme Court’s twisted logic, though the government cannot force me to buy broccoli, it can tax me if I refuse to buy broccoli. Is the outcome not the same? I judge such actions by how I feel about my freedom. The Court stopped Congress from hanging more freedom-killing legislation on the Interstate Commerce clause, but gave Congress a big green light to punish me merely for the personal choices I make. For me, a big loss of personal freedom.

Obamacare - taxing you when you first begin to breathe. Estate taxes - taxing you when you stop breathing. And income taxes get you in between. You can’t win.

June 22, 2012 - In Europe I see a willingness to attempt to bail out Spain and Italy with printed money (using some subterfuge) which will in turn bail out bankrupt European banks -- and it will take awhile for the Socialists to turn France into a basket case. So I don’t see a Lehman-style collapse in the Eurozone for awhile; more likely it will come when other stresses (such as the spreading Eurodepression) tip the unfolding European financial disaster over the edge. In the meantime, the U.S. is a safe haven, with the possible defeat of our Marxist tool of a president (along with many of his enablers in Congress) in November, with our likely becoming a capital-friendly and business-friendly country again, and with our Federal Reserve willing to bail out everybody. So the “sell in May and go away” lows are likely to be made early in the summer, with stocks then rising from early August until the November elections. (The outlier: If Israel should attack Iran before the elections.) But 2013? The year when the bills come due? Ugly.

Pictured below: The Greendale Mall in Worcester, Mass. (the financial backwater of America) in May 2012, deader than ever. Most of the chain stores are gone. Even CVS couldn’t make it here; they have closed up shop.

May 15, 2012 - It should be no secret now that resource stocks, particularly gold mining shares, are in a killer bear market (for the short term). I had expected this, though not with the current level of severity, because we are in the first of two or three stages of the onset of a synchronous global recession within a secular bear market/soft depression. The first stage is where the previous attempts at global money-printing have failed, having caused asset values to reflate but not economic activity -- and with the supply of newly-minted money exhausted the global asset deflation reasserts itself. The second stage is where things start to “break”, and the money-surrogate gold/precious metals stocks rise and the other resource stocks stabilize, because they represent valuable hard assets in a time of financial instability. The third stage, if the central banks are once again successful, is the reflating of assets as the cycle repeats. In my opinion we are now at or near the end of the first stage, and about to enter the second.

May 7, 2012 - I’d say the whipsawing in the stock market is about done. Looks like “Sell in May and go away” -- for awhile, at least -- is operative again this year.

You will note that in the portfolios I have been concentrating on adding gold mining stocks which pay dividends. The gold shares are at or near a historic buying opportunity, and putting money there beats leaving it in a money-market fund with zilch yield.

March 26, 2012 - The wall of silence on the Obama “birth certificate” begins to crack. As I wrote previously, I have been able to satisfy myself that the Barack Obama “birth certificate” released by the White House last April 27 is a complete fake. It fails authenticity on four levels: First, in the digital PDF, where even cursory analysis with Adobe Illustrator will reveal how it was constructed from digital snippets. Second, without fancy (expensive!) software but just by magnifying the PDF, one can discern the mixture of bitmap and grayscale elements which would not have been possible with an ordinary scan of a paper document. Third, in the typefaces, with at least two different typewriter fonts (maybe more) being used in the single document. And fourth, in the letter spacing, as I demonstrated last July in a test so simple that, as I put it, “even a dumbass journalist can understand it”. (See “Birth Certificate pitch test” in the right-hand panel.) And I was able to satisfy myself because of my extensive, lifetime experience writing and producing technical documentation, including in the 1960s when Obama was born.

But convincing other people - no. If you ever want to see an extreme example of the herd instinct, this is it. Led by the stonewalling/disinterested mainstream media, the herd has decided that anybody questioning the authenticity of this document is a complete kook - or racist - who thinks Obama is Kenyan. (For the record, Obama was born in Hawaii. But the “birth certificate” is still fake. And I don’t know why he did not or could not produce a genuine one.) It’s like the old riddle - if a tree crashes in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound? In this case, if the president of the US perpetrates a highly visible fraud on the populace, but the sorry excuses for journalists we have today refuse to investigate further in pursuit of the truth, did he lie? Apparently not, for most people. And individuals who do research the matter are considered to be loons, no matter how much real expertise they may have.

In my opinion, the majority of journalists are “right-brain” (emotional) people - that is, they base their news stories on what people have said (whether or not factual) rather than on evidence.... they do not possess the scientific or technical or knowledge skills needed to arrive at factually-based conclusions. We saw this recently with the global-warning scam.... when the hacked climate-scientist e-mails revealed that climate “research” had been corrupted by grant funding and that the scientists were cooking the data to buttress their preconceived notions and desired outcome and to keep the money coming in.... the “religion” of global warming collapsed, and the global-warming-theory critics whom the journalists had made pariahs became respectable again. We all tend to respect authority, but in doing so we need to make certain that the authority figures themselves are respectable (honest).

So, the first crack in the wall appeared when Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio released the results of his “cold-case posse” investigation by experienced criminologists into the authenticity of the Obama “birth certificate” at a March 1 press conference. This was the first “official”, “government” investigation into the matter, giving it (in the eyes of the herd)  respectability and authority (even allowing for Joe Arpaio being a controversial character himself). In other words, Joe Arpaio carries a lot more “clout” than I ever will.

I watched the press conference live, with great interest, viewing the WND streaming video on my computer. The WND servers were so overloaded at the beginning that the stream kept dropping away, so I missed most of Arpaio’s opening remarks, but after that things quieted down and I got to view the evidence. A bonus for me was Arpaio’s investigating Obama’s supposed draft card (I never had pursued this), which clearly is a forgery as it has an out-of-position two-digit year date (80) when all standard Post Office date stamps of that era had four-digit dates (1980). (Their demonstration of how that forgery was created is conjecture, though.) I also saw the press conference being streamed on the ABC website, and my wife spotted it on the CNN website on her computer, but they were blurrier than the WND stream.... and that’s about as much coverage as this ever got from the big boys (as far as I can tell).  If you missed the press conference, in the right-hand panel you will find the Arpaio and Zebest reports, and in the Arpaio report there are “live” YouTube links to the videos shown at the press conference, so you can see the evidence for yourself.

At the end of the press conference there were a few questions from the media folks present, and most of them were of the “shoot the messenger” or “how dare you call the president a liar” variety. The little bit of written coverage this received in the mainstream press afterward was also mostly “shoot the messenger”, attempting to discredit the findings because Arpaio himself is controversial and supposedly thus can’t be trusted. And the journalist-perceived nature of the messenger kept the story from moving up the news food chain.

But there is a problem for journalists when they try to suppress the truth through such distortions. Because they tend to be evidence-challenged, they think the public views life in the same way.... but the public as a whole is evenly distributed along a Bell curve in “brainedness”, with half the public more “left-brain” (scientific/technical/logical) than right, and the other half more “right-brain” (emotional/artistic) than left.... and with the majority of people clustered near the middle. So maybe 75% or 80% of the public has the ability to absorb and understand the technical arguments which shout forgery. All they have to do is look for themselves  (and not be cowed by the herd).

And that is exactly the problem with efforts to keep the true, forged nature of the “birth certificate” suppressed. The evidence is concrete - digital files - they stand, and can be analyzed, alone, needing no context. It doesn't matter who the messenger is that brings them to you, the evidence speaks for itself. And it's not ephemeral - the evidence hangs around where it can be thoroughly dissected at leisure, so there ultimately will be no mistake about what it reveals.

Lately, now less than a month after the Arpaio presser, we are beginning to see some questioning in the respectable conservative spectrum. First (March 22) was Lord Christopher Monckton (a Britisher very knowledgeable about climate change) saying on the Dennis Miller radio show, "And the birth certificate ....I do know that birth certificate isn’t genuine.... It appears in layers on the screen in such a way you can remove quite separately each of the individual dates. You use Adobe Illustrator and each of the individual dates is in its own separate layer. This thing has been fabricated.... But the point is, is what he [Obama] has done on the White House website is he has put up a document which is plainly a forgery and I would regard that as a very serious matter." Lord Monckton has the advantage of being beyond the reach of an IRS audit, so he can say what he really thinks.

Next (March 23) was syndicated columnist Diana West’s must-read “Silence of the Lapdogs”, which you will see listed in the right-hand panel. Most of her syndicated outlets refused to publish this column; it has appeared in a few smaller newspapers across the country.

Then (March 24) respected author and writer Roger Kimball, in discussing Diana West's column, wrote “The most effective form of censorship is also the quietest. It operates not by actively proscribing speech but by rendering certain topics hors de combat, literally undiscussable. It does this by propagating an atmosphere of revulsion and taboo. Ordinary censorship prohibits the dissemination of particular opinions or bits of information. The more subtle engine of silence I have in mind goes further. It stanches not only the flow of speech but also the flow of thought. Ordinary censorship occupies itself with the results of human curiosity. What I am talking about attacks human curiosity itself.”

Respected conservatives raising the issue is an invitation for others to overcome the herd instinct and open their eyes and minds, so it is my hope that more people will start asking questions and looking at the proof of forgery, then the truth will finally out. (Hell will probably freeze over before any liberal ever admits the PDF is a fake.)

To all of the Obots reading this: Telling me “I don't believe you” doesn't hack it. Nor does “so-and-so (some neighbor or friend or politician) says you're wrong”. Nor does calling me a racist in order to shut down discussion, and I deeply resent the charge. This is not an issue of faith (you “believe”), it is an issue of evidence.

You think I'm wrong? Prove it.

I have demonstrated how the fake BC fails the pitch test, and how the BC PDF has mixed bitmap and grayscale images, possible only in a digitally-constructed fake.

Retired typographer Paul Irey has demonstrated how multiple typewriter fonts appear in this document ostensibly produced on a lone hospital typewriter in August 1961.

The “cold case posse” investigators, Mara Zebest and many others have demonstrated how the digital fake is layered and was constructed from snippets, as well as pointed out other anomalies that scream, “fake!”

Go ahead. Prove us all wrong. Not with your “beliefs” or shouts of “racism”, but with solid, hard evidence. Go on the Internet and search for concrete evidence that anybody has produced that conclusively proves that any of the valid technical proofs of the fake are wrong. Go right ahead.

You won't find any, because there is none.

A final note: From my days in the radio newsroom, it seems to me there is one helluva story buried here, but no journalist seems willing to tackle it. Is there no one of them eager to capture a Pulitzer in the tradition of Woodward and Bernstein by casting away preconceptions and seeking out the truth? What are they all afraid of? And why?

March 7, 2012 - Early Saturday morning (March 3) I sent the following alert to my former paid subscribers, those who have been with me for many, many years: "Kindly note that we got a NASDAQ "Timer's Trend" SELL signal yesterday, Friday, March 2. I must confess that this was a complete surprise to me when I ran the numbers early Saturday morning. It had appeared to me that advance/decline signals were weakening as the market topped out, but I did not expect an indicator sell signal so soon after recent market peaks. Looking back, it looks like the blue chips (Dow) have been essentially flatlining since mid-February, and the NASDAQ topped out last week. At a minimum, using previous topping-out sequences as a guide, this likely indicates a period of whipsawing for awhile (a week to a month) before we embark on another bearish jag.... or, more likely, a return of the bear market. It appears that a major top is being put into place. It seems I was two or three weeks early in my estimate for that top. Sorry about that."

A busy schedule has kept me from posting this warning to the general public until now.

February 14, 2012 - I spent an interesting four days at the International Money Show in Orlando, listening to mostly bullish projections for the coming year.... linear projection at work.... but also hearing from a few bearish speakers (Steve Hochberg, pointing out stock market overvaluation; Harry Dent, illustrating demographic decline) whose peering into the future resonated more strongly with me. But to my surprise, nobody at all (that I heard speak) mentioned the possibility of an imminent or near-imminent Mideast war. This, in spite of the current saber-rattling and Leon Panetta's assessment that Israel will likely attack Iran's nuclear-"research" facilities in the spring. I think this was a serious oversight by the money-show speakers, as the onset of such a war would be a major game-changer for investments.

In the U.S., we tend to think that there will be sufficient warning before the world plunges into another war, as this has been recent history (Vietnam, Iraq wars, Kosovo, etc.). But some wars (such as WWI) have arrived suddenly and massively after an unexpected flashpoint. We tend to think that if Israel struck first (likely), the outcome would be similar to Israel's demolishing Saddam Hussein's (Iraq) or Bashar Assad's (Syria) fledgling nuclear ambitions. But that would be severely underestimating Iran's political leaders.

The top brass in Iran are theocratic nutcases (and dangerous nutcases). These folks believe in the return of the Mahdi, or 12th imam, who has been hiding in caves since the 13th century; and that the Mahdi's return just prior to the Day of Judgement will be accompanied by chaos and tyranny. Further, they believe that they can accelerate the return of the Mahdi by bringing on the chaos, imminently.... which is to say, in 2012, maybe as soon as next month. The political leaders in the U.S. may not understand this, but the Israelis sure do, and they are not about to tolerate a second Holocaust. Needless to say, the sudden onset of a regional war would be very destabilizing to the world's current precarious financial position, and I think you should take this possibility into consideration when you estimate future trends.

January 29, 2012 - The outlook for the current year is becoming a little clearer. It would appear that stocks are topping out about now (70% odds; 30% odds the top will come in the spring), in a typical January bull-market top. February will likely be an indifferent or down month, with the impact of the deterioration of the European sovereign debt situation (that is, more countries suffering the fate of Greece) finally arriving in March or April. I know that the months into May are supposed to be the "bullish months", but I don't think that will happen in 2012. The rot in Europe is likely to spiral out of control into a worldwide credit event well before summer arrives.

December 8, 2011 - This is the joyous time of year when stocks are not supposed to go down; “Santa Claus rally” and all that. In recent years I find that most of this supposed bullish period occurs around Thanksgiving and into the first week of December. By December 10 Santa Claus has usually shot his wad and stocks just chop around for the rest of the month (especially those stocks which are eligible for tax-loss selling). Who knows what genius moves the big honchos will make next to appear to save the euro? But appearances are all they will be; the markets will overwhelm them (in 2012) before they can actually get a fiscal union in place. (Or not. I don’t think the voters in the countries making up the EU will stand for it.)

November 30, 2011 - Feed me money!! Today’s moves by the world’s central banks to improve interbank liquidity (a not-very-effective form of printing money) to placate the European debt monster are great for goosing stocks.... for awhile. For the bond market, it was a real yawner, because the crisis is one of solvency, not liquidity; the debts simply can’t be paid back. This is a seasonably-favorable time for the stock markets, so use it to your advantage while you can. The troubles will return, maybe in two or three weeks, but no later than the end of January of 2012. (We’re still on crash watch until volatility subsides.)

November 23, 2011 - The U.S. markets get tomorrow off, and a half-day Friday. The rest of the world’s stock markets trade full-bore both Thursday and Friday. Interest rates and credit-default-swap prices in Europe are soaring, Germany couldn’t sell 6 billion euros of bonds, European bank runs by small savers are underway, and credit stresses are at levels previously reached just prior to the 2008 credit freeze-up. Next week should be very interesting, either because U.S. markets will catch up to the disaster unfolding in Europe, or because the big honchos will pull another magic rabbit out of the magic hat, the effect of which will last.... oh, at least a few hours.

One thing you can say about this disaster, it’s well-advertised, unlike 2008, which (almost) nobody thought could happen and which took everybody by surprise. It’s like watching a truck crash in slow motion while being powerless to prevent it. The surprise this time will be not that it happens, but its severity.

November 15, 2011 - Interest-rate spreads in Europe (that is, interest rates on sovereign debt of nations other than Germany, versus German interest rates) are sharply on the rise again.... and we are back on crash watch. The European central bankers and big honchos may be able to come up with another feel-good “fix”, but like past fixes, its impact is not likely to last more than a few days.

November 10, 2011 - Like most of you, I am sure, I have been following with great interest the sexual-harassment allegations against Republican presidential aspirant Herman Cain. Of course, you know up front that nobody cared about sliming Herman Cain’s reputation when he was trailing the pack, but when he gained the lead in some polls, suddenly, it was in somebody’s self-interest (Republican or Democrat competitor, we don’t know who) to try to take him out in short order. So you know the attack was politically-motivated.

The settlements with women who worked at the National Restaurant Association do not reveal much, as a CEO (especially one as gregarious as Cain) is a tempting target for disgruntled employees, and a company will settle such grievances for small amounts rather than spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in court to defend itself, no matter how spurious the charges.

But when accuser Sharon Bialek appeared with her graphic charges and believable story, then there was a he-said, she-said situation to be dealt with. There is a tendency to believe the woman in these cases, because of past discrimination of women in the workplace. And it is almost impossible for a man so charged to clear his name.... how do you prove you didn’t ask for a blow job in a dark car one night in the summer fourteen years ago?

I watched Sharon Bialek’s press conference, and though her story seemed credible, a few things struck me as “fishy”. One was her choice of lawyer, Gloria Allred, who makes ambulance-chasing tort lawyers’ reputations look pristine by comparison. Another is that Allred waved two depositions before the cameras, but didn’t allow their inspection or distribute copies. A third is that no questions were allowed of Bialek after she gave her statement. Then there is the question of motive. Why now? Bialek says she’s not looking for money. Cain had no hand in her dismissal from the National Restaurant Association, so seeking revenge is unlikely. If she was so offended, why didn’t she deal with it when it supposedly happened?

Subsequently, reporters learned that Bialek has a spotty work record, an out-of-wedlock son, has been unemployed for two years (certainly no crime in this crappy economy) and currently appears to be struggling financially. But, you know how opposed I am to “shoot the messenger” - in matters sexual, some men, no matter how upstanding they are in the community, are pigs; and some women, no matter how much trusted by friends and co-workers, are liars. So the only real issue, as far as I am concerned, is: Who’s telling the truth, and who’s lying?

Fortunately for us, some reporters in Cain’s hometown of Atlanta committed real journalism and got the answer. As WGCL-TV reports, Private investigator TJ Ward said presidential hopeful Herman Cain was not lying at a news conference on Tuesday in Phoenix.... Cain has not taken a polygraph but Ward said he does have software that does something better. Ward said the $15,000 software can detect lies in people's voices. CBS Atlanta's Mike Paluska played Cain's speech for Ward into the software and watched as it analyzed Cain's every word. ‘If he is hiding something this thing would have spiked way down here,’ said Ward.  ‘He is being truthful, totally truthful.  He is a man with integrity and he talked directly about not knowing any incident he is accused of.’

“The software analyzes the stress level and other factors in your voice.  During the speech, when Cain denied the claims, the lie detector read ’low risk.’  According to Ward, that means Cain is telling the truth. During the section of Bialek's news conference where she says, ‘He suddenly reached over, put his hand on my leg under my skirt and reached for my genitals. He also grabbed my head, brought it towards his crotch.’ ....the analysis of that section the software said ‘high risk statement.’  Ward said that means she is not  telling the truth about what happened. ‘I don't think she is fabricating her meetings,’ said Ward.  ‘But, she is fabricating what transpired.’”

November 8, 2011 - A quiz for you: who’s on top in Europe? (A) The taxpayers and voters, who are just just hunky-dory with the efforts to keep the Euro glued together and therefore are not rioting in the streets of Greece and Spain or grousing in Italy? Or, (B) the sovereign nations of Europe, whose leaders are more than willing to throw every last national resource into the maw of bad debt to feed their big egos, and to hell with the voters and taxpayers? Or, (C) the European banks, which are striving mightily to avoid taking losses on their enormous bad debts? If you answered (C), then you recognize that there are riots in the streets of Europe, and that this Eurofolly has already brought down two governments, Greece and Italy, with more (particularly Spain) likely.

This madness has kept the markets happy, for as long as it lasts and for as long as the resources are sucked up to prevent bank bondholders from taking a bath. But you should also recognize it as an unstable situation; this is the stuff of which revolutions are made. Eventually the voters will throw the bums out; nationalism will rise again.

Below: The depression arrives at the Greendale Mall in Worcester.

November 3, 2011 - Hallowe’en Weekend Nor’easter Trick - No power at home for 53 hours. No landline phone, no cable/internet. Stock trading by iPhone only. Fortunately my wife and I have a generator, which a friend helped us get working after the first day, so we had heat and hot water (the oil furnace can be switched to the generator) and we could keep food chilled/frozen. Even as I write (November 3, 11PM) there are still 10,000 people here in Worcester, the financial backwater of America and New England’s second-largest city, without power. Several of the suburban towns and smaller cities in central Massachusetts remain mainly in the dark almost a week after the storm. Connecticut had it much worse.

It was spooky to see a foot of wet-concrete-textured snow bending and smashing trees still bearing autumn leaves, as you can see in the pictures that follow.

Computing by candlelight

Storm damage on a Worcester residential side street

Scott Brook, Holden. Mass. before the snowstorm

Scott Brook, Holden. Mass. after the snowstorm

October 27 & 29, 2011 - Omigod, the big honchos actually did something! It’s enough to arrest the downward spiral for awhile, and to take me off crash watch for the time being. TARP for Europe.... without the money-printing.... so it’s not clear exactly who will be willing to lend to finance the leveraged bailout funds or invest to recapitalize the banks.  The implementation of the bailout may thus prove to be a bit rocky. After all, who will buy sovereign bonds if an effective 50% default does not trigger credit-default insurance? Only those asking for higher yields for the now-heightened risk.

If some reader can point me to a success story of where taking on more leverage has solved a problem created by too much leverage, then I will concede my pessimism is wrong. Otherwise, on October 27 the dreams of the bulls were fulfilled.... so after the bailout news is digested, it’s all downhill from here.

October 25, 2011 - The situation in Europe continues to deteriorate. The solvency crisis has already brought down the government of Slovakia, and threatens to bring down sex-fiend Berlusconi’s Italian coalition government. Bank runs have begun in a small way in Greece, and Greek bond prices indicate there should be at least a 60% haircut taken on Greek bonds, not the 50% being suggested by the big honchos. Such a Greek default would eat half of the $440-billion-Euro rescue fund being proposed - with Portugal about to be the next to go under. So, assuming the big honchos actually do something over the next few days, rather than just talk a lot, it will still be inadequate.

October 24, 2011 - Lest we forget: The “Occupy Wall Street” syndrome has occurred before, in recent memory. The pictures I’ve posted below are from the April 19, 1975 bicentennial of the start of the American Revolution, the “shot heard ‘round the world” (in Lexington and) at the Old North Bridge in Concord, Mass.

About 40,000 hippies, representing the dregs of the “People’s Bicentennial Commission” descended upon Concord and camped out in the days leading up to the April 19 ceremonies. Above, you see hippies hanging out in the center of Concord the evening of April 18, 1975.

In the above picture (taken early April 19) you can see the main campground (thoughtfully funded by taxpayers) on the far shore, with its giant temporary stage on which a rock concert had been held the night before. The perfectly ordinary citizens in the foreground are awaiting the presence of the colonial marching units and President Gerald R. Ford and other dignitaries, while the police keep the hippies at bay on the other side of the Concord River.

“Economic Democracy” (whatever that means) was a popular message; also “Power to the People!” Translation: “Don’t draft me to fight in Vietnam in a stalemate war being bungled by politicians”. (Remember, the war in Vietnam was winding down to defeat in 1975.) A message similar to today’s OWS message (in translation), “You bailed out the banks and financiers, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt!”

Both movements had/have a common root, a protest against the crony corporatism of the government-financial complex, which was a problem in 1975 but which today is so egregious that it threatens to blow up, impoverishing all of us in the process (not just those who have already become its victims). And both have leftist “solutions”: By force of government, steal money from those who rightfully earned it (not just from the crony-corporatist crooks) and distribute it to those who did not and who have no moral right to it.

When I first posted these pictures to the web in 1994, I included the following message - “Warning to teenagers: You may see your parents here. Remember, you are supposed to do as they say, not do as they did when they were your age.”

October 17, 2011:

October 12, 2011 - Though we’re still on “crash watch”, obviously stocks won’t crash from rally tops like the current one; they crash only after systemic stresses push stock prices lower, then something “breaks” and creditors panic. The European big honchos are making enough soothing noises to give the illusion that the situation is under control and will remain so. In reality, European bank credit stresses are still rising, systemic risk continues to increase, and Greece threatens to suddenly plunge into depression at any time. There are many things gone awry, any one of which could “break” at any time to trigger a systemic failure (60% odds, in my opinion). In the meantime, we remain in a primary bear market for stocks (excluding gold stocks, which are in a bull market), as the market establishes intermediate-term trading ranges at progressively lower levels. Remember, even if we don’t get a crash, this is still a bear market.

October 9, 2011 - Graphic razzing “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrators (source unknown). Click on the image to see a higher-resolution picture: