Saturday, December 22, 2012

Open Debauchery of the Money Supply

12/21/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

As the world carries on we offer a glimpse of what is to come.  Two playful headlines that have appeared in the past two days which is essentially an advertisement that inflation has taken hold and will not soon go away:

This article confirms what metals watchers have known for some time now, that the US Mint will have to change the content of pennies and nickels, at a minimum.  The Nickel inflation hedge we’ve mentioned before is about to go into effect.  You can read the gory details in the US Mint’s 2012 Biennial Report to Congress on the matter.

Next, we see that, strangely it seems, demand for $100 bills has begun to pick up.

It appears that the dollar debasement is hitting main street.  To keep tabs on the matter, we refer you to the M2 money supply which we present below in our Key Statistics.
The debauchery of the US currency is now hitting the street, which may mean its days are numbered.  Once the moronic Fiscal Cliff and the upcoming Debt ceiling redux in March 2013 are resolved, the party will begin in earnest.

We reckon that over the next few months there will be a narrow window to get precious metals at what, in retrospect, will be a bargain price.  We look for the price to rise in fits and starts from early January through March, then take off through May.  Part of this is seasonal, and part of it is the debauchery related above.  However, it is the debauchery which will punctuate the upcoming move.
We would like to take this opportunity to send you all a big hug and wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season from us here at the Mint!

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

Key Indicators for December 21 2012

Friday, December 14, 2012

Famed Apocalypse Consultant sees wealth squandered as too little, too late as 12-21-2012 approaches

12/13/2012 Portland, Oregon - Pop in your mints…

On a rainy Thursday morning in Southeast Portland’s Bipartisan Cafe, we sit, slowing sipping our coffee with REM’s “The end of the world as we know it” playing softly in the background.  The clouds and rain match the mood of our companion, Dr. Roger Doomsday, the world’s leading Apocalypse consultant.  Dr. Doomsday, who has not even touched his mug since it arrived 10 minutes ago, stares quietly out the window at the traffic passing on SE Stark and only wonders what might have been.

After what seems like an hour, the famed Apocalypse Consultant breaks the silence,

“They just don’t get it,” he laments.

Flash back to 1999.  Dr. Doomsday, who had previously helped groups such as the Branch Davidians, the Peoples Temple, and the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God prepare for the coming Apocalypse, was riding a wave of hope.

“I did a great disservice to my early clients,” Doomsday says, in the first of many understatements he would utter.  “Back then, my advice was too practical, I thought ‘hey, if you don’t want to go through this thing and have a better place to go to, why wait around for the Apocalypse?’”

Unfortunately for those of the Peoples Temple, Doomsday’s advice had horrific consequences which led to the greatest loss of civilian life in the US prior to 9/11.
After freeing himself from a slew of civil and criminal charges related to the matter, with the help of a then relatively unknown lawyer named Johnny Cochran, he began to reconsider his methods.

“I thought, rather than telling people to evacuate the planet before the inevitable occurs, why not try riding it out in style?”  He then lets out what we interpreted to be both a chuckle and a sob, “I guess Koresh took my advice a little too far.”

After the Branch Davidian fiasco, in which Doomsday claims his only error was “not counting on the FEDs showing up,” which was understatement number two of the morning, according to our count, the resilient Doctor, with the encouragement of his well paid legal counsel, again changed his approach.

“I began to wonder if counseling people to heavily arm themselves and live as gluttons in far away retreats was the right thing to do, so I dropped the firearms stockpiling from my standard Apocalypse preparedness program in favor of a greater allocation of funds towards revelry.”

Fast forward to Uganda in 1999.  Again, on the advice of Dr. Doomsday, the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God throws an epic party as what they deemed the end of the world as they knew it was approaching.
Unfortunately, a fire breaks out, enacting a heavy death toll on the revelers.  Again, another one of Doomsday’s clients leaves a trail of shattered lives as time nonchalantly marched forward.

“What happened in Uganda was lamentable,” Doomsday explains, “but I felt I was finally getting it right, and my official recommendation never involved open fires.”  Somehow, we felt that he was strangely giving a sales pitch and a disclaimer to us all in the same phrase, like the advertisements you hear on the radio.

With his approach strangely validated, albeit in his own mind, Dr. Doomsday moved from specializing in consulting obscure religious sects to taking his approach, which he called “Party like its 1999,” until The Artist, formerly known as The Artist Formerly known as Prince, formerly known as Prince, successfully sued Doomsday for copyright infringement, to both large corporations and governments.

“While the Apocalypse is always just around the corner, I had an incredible stroke of luck when the Mayan prediction began to be widely disseminated.  With the year 2000 in the past and the Jewish Messiah’s arrival famously unpredictable, I needed something for people to latch onto, an end date they could all embrace.”

For the Apocalypse Consultant, the Mayan’s 12-21-2012 cryptic codex interpretations came like manna from heaven.

“What do they mean? No one can tell, but I can tell you what those native stone carvings and the wild imagination of the archaeologists who encountered them meant to me, about $1 billion, yes, billion in net fees over the past twelve years!” exclaimed the Dr. with more incredulity than joy in his voice.

For the past twelve years, Doomsday has traveled the globe helping both corporations and governments to squander what he estimates to be “Eight centuries of accumulated wealth” in just over a decade.

“Everybody wanted a plan, Citibank, JPMorgan, all the big banks, Cargill, GE, Xerox,” recalled Doomsday, “the Department of Defense even had something called Homeland Security created as a vehicle for passing wealth straight to the sewers of history.  GW himself came up with the name, said it reminded him of home cooking, or something like that.”

“Some took my recommendations too far, too soon,” continued Doomsday, “Enron, Tyco, and Bear Stearns got all excited and blew up early, that was always the danger, blowing through the resources before the Apocalypse arrived.”

“‘How much is enough?’ everyone wanted to know, so I said “you know your retirement calculator?  Just shift your life span to end on 12-21-2012,” he laughed, “worked like magic, and saved me a ton of accounting fees on the back-end!”

He now stares at the commuters passing down Stark on their way to work or school through the Bipartisan’s window as shakes his head.  ”I can only wonder what might have been,” he says, with a tone of regret.

While he believes much wealth has already been squandered, he can only wonder what might have been had the corporations fully implemented his recommendations.  However, corporations, who seemed to eagerly embrace his ideas early, have been too slow to act.

Dr. Doomsday’s standard recommendations, which he calls “no-brainers” if the world is about to end, involved a number of disincentives for employees to work.
“Categorically, I told employers to slash benefits and freeze wages, something that many waited until a couple of years ago to do.  Still, many employees saw the writing on the wall and retired, while others, notably union workers, clung to their jobs in the face of deep cuts…I didn’t see that coming!”

The idea was that, with such a disincentive to work, employees would do the math, retire, cash in their 401Ks and party or otherwise spend irrationally with 12-21-2012 in sight.  Simple on paper, but in practice, Dr. Doomsday underestimated the influence of one key factor:  The influence of the Apocal-skeptic.

It turns out, not everyone believed that the world would end on 12-21-2012.  Even when presented with the temptation to spend an estimate 800 years of accumulated savings in just 12, some people just couldn’t take the bait.

“The Apocal-skeptics didn’t believe it.  What was so clearly carved in stone by people smarter than ourselves some 3,000 years ago somehow didn’t register with them as credible evidence.  Only now is my phone blowing up with calls asking how to fast track recommendations which were laid out to debauch the earth over a minimum of 7 years to be executed in a week.  I threw my phone in the Willamette last night…I can’t take it, we had a golden chance and we wasted it, or didn’t, as it were.”

His sorrow is now evident, as a tear streams down his unshaven face.
“I mean, Citi just now laid off 11,000 workers?  They barely have time to blow their 401Ks on unbridled debauchery.  This isn’t how it was supposed to go down.”

Staring back at the window, he cries, “and these people look like they’re going to work!” as he slams his fist on the table, causing the half awake patronage to look in his general direction

“The only ones who truly got it are the Western Governments.  I mean, in sheer numerical terms, they have hit the ball out of the park when it comes to squandering wealth,”  He continues, ”the Governments were already squandering an impressive amount of capital, I just gave them a reason to go all the way.”

While Doomsday still thinks the Government overdid it on things like defense spending, education, and cleaning up the environment, activities he says have no place in an apocalyptic mindset, he can’t deny the numbers.

“While I would have preferred to see my program of night club and amusement park development fully implemented, on net, they (Western Governments) have been the most proactive in encouraging leisure, revelry, and the ‘eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die’ mindset that is they very core of my philosophy,” he pauses and shakes his head, “they’ve done their fair share, but the people have failed them.”

He blames the human tendency to plan for the future, a survival mechanism which, he admits, takes time to overcome, as well as the Fiscal Cliff, which he claims is a myth which is perpetuated by Apocal-skeptics in the US congress who have a vested interest in the status quo, for derailing many of his recommendations before they made it out of committee and into various spending packages.

“I admit,” continues Doomsday, “that parts of my program, such as converting ship yards to churn out cruise ships and one of my favorites, constructing fraternity and sorority houses, as well as subsidies for inflatable play structures, seemed a bit far-fetched even for those convinced that the Apocalypse was coming…but our differences were more about how to waste the money, not whether or not it should be wasted,” he sighs, helplessly, “now they are setting up rules for Obamacare!”

Obambacare is a sore subject for Dr. Doomsday.  It was the antithesis of what he deemed a proper Apocalyptic health care system.

“For goodness sake, all you needed were some ERs to mend the thrill seekers.  Primary and preventative care?  Vaccinations?  Treating people with pre-existing conditions?  What are we trying to do, make people think they’ll live forever?!?!?!?!”

He shakes his head in resignation that a once in a lifetime opportunity was lost.
“I did my part, I told people how to properly waste money, gave them an endless bucket list, and the framework for the common man and woman to live out their numbered days in pure, shameless debauchery.  I even led by example.”

{Editors note:  In his last statement, Doomsday is referring to his lifestyle which, up until his personal fortune was exhausted last week, made Hugh Hefner and most gangster rappers blush}.

As the rain falls, we take a look at our iPhone, suddenly, as the digital display ticks another minute towards 12-21-2012, we realized that Dr. Doomsday, like the famous Gambler who spoke with Kenny Rogers, had given us an ace that we could keep.

We quickly thanked Dr. Doomsday, though he doesn’t respond as he stares blankly out  onto Stark street, and bolt out the door, right past the thought of paying the tab.  We didn’t even bother to take his pulse as our internal clock turned up the volume as the seconds began to tick away with an eerie clarity in our mind.
We dialed our 401k provider as we run out the door of the cafe, barely noticed by those half awake on this dreary Portland morning.

“Yes, I need my account liquidated and the funds delivered to me in cash as soon as possible…I know there are fees associated…just do it, I will be by to pick it up within the hour.”

As we begin to dial airlines, the voice of reason screams out, barely audible above the ticking in our head, something along the lines of, “Stop!”

That would be the last we heard from him, as we call our family and friends and invite them to an all expenses paid party in paradise.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint


Key Indicators for December 13 2012

Copper Price per Lb: $3.63
Oil Price per Barrel:  $86.33
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.12
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.73%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,697 THE GOLD RUSH IS ON!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.7%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.1%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  13,171
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,527,700,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,375,100,000,000

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Federal Reserve Effectively Forgives US National Debt

12/11/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…
Last week, we made a vague promise to provide data to back a claim that the US Debt at the FED had already been largely cancelled via the various quantitative easing (QE) operations that have been realized over the past several years.  This fact makes any talk of solving the moronic “Fiscal Cliff” via extreme methods such as minting platinum coins with $1 Trillion face value unnecessary.

In an attempt to illustrate what amounts to an effective forgiveness of a portion of the US National Debt by the Federal Reserve, we offer the following graph, which plots the both the official US National debt as well as the official US National debt net of the Federal Reserve’s holdings as a percentage of GDP.

As you can see, the real US National debt to GDP is closer to 94% rather than the projected 105% which the official US National debt figures would suggest.  The Federal Reserve, at last count, holds roughly $1.6 Trillion of US Treasury debt.  While this debt is still theoretically on the books, it can essentially be removed from consideration when arguing about the need to solve the debt problem, vis-a-vis the moronic Fiscal Cliff debacle that is playing out in Washington.

 94% is an alarming level, but according to our projections, the current US Government current account deficit cycle is about to end as the waves of new currency released into the global economy by the Federal Reserve and other central banks begins to run through the coffers of the US Government.

Despite the desperate proclamations by Congress that it will be difficult to solve their (yes, this is their problem) impasse, indicators such as an EFT that tracks the Defense industry, XAR, which would theoretically be the hardest hit were the US to fail to address portions of the Fiscal cliff such as suspending the sequestered spending cuts agreed upon as a result of the infamous Debt ceiling debacle, are not showing any signs of trouble.

In other words, the financial markets are assuming that the US Congress and Executive, when push comes to shove, will wind up and kick the can a mile down the road, as they did when the debt ceiling was bearing down on them.

According to our projections, there is no debate, the Fiscal Cliff does not even exist, rather, it is a figment of the collective imagination.

We do not believe in money, at least not in the form of money that is currently used in America today, and it appears that the US Congress is beginning to come around to our point of view.  If the Federal Reserve will simply finance deficits ad infinitum, why even bother with the Fiscal Cliff charade?  We are still working to answer that question, and leave it for you, fellow taxpayer, to ponder along with us.

The real question, the one which we wrestle with every day here at The Mint, is when will the faith in the Federal Reserve be destroyed?  With the advent of the various QEs beginning in 2008, the Federal Reserve system effectively collapsed.  The creation of credit was no longer self sustaining in the economy.  The FED has been living on borrowed time.

As December 21 approaches and those who have misinterpreted the Mayan calendar wonder if December 22nd will come, we look forward to the 22nd of December, when the Federal Reserve’s charter is rumored to expire, and YouTube’s “Man of Truth” famously prophesied that the Federal Reserve would go bankrupt. Technically, he said “December 2012″, but, after 99 years, why split hairs?

Chances are that the world will wake up on December 22nd and carry on.  However, if you see the words “Force Majeure” in the financial headlines, get ready to calculate prices in a new currency for 2013.  For the US may swerve to avoid the Fiscal Cliff, but sooner or later it will drop off the currency cliff.

That is when things will get very interesting indeed.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint


Key Indicators for December 11 2012

Copper Price per Lb: $3.65
Oil Price per Barrel:  $85.84
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.24
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.65%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,710 THE GOLD RUSH IS ON!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.7%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.1%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  13,284
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,457,800,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,275,200,000,000

Perpetuation of the Trillion dollar coin solution to US Debt

As our site name implies, we have more than a passing interest in monetary theory.  As such, ideas for new types of coin and currency are of special interest.  When the value of the coins proposed contains an insane amount of seigniorage, we are compelled to call it out.

The Fiscal Cliff melodrama playing out in the halls of US Federal Government’s Capital has given rise to the above mentioned monetary insanity.

As the so called, moronic “Fiscal Cliff” false alarm approaches, it becomes more common for those of a Socialist/Statist leaning philosophy to search for easy solutions to what amounts to enabling catastrophic policy failures, out of control spending, and unsustainable debt pacts.

This is not surprising, as Socialism and economics are incompatible philosophies. Anyone who claims otherwise either mistakenly applies small system theory to large scale systems or is a shill. From one of these insane theorists comes the idea of the US Treasury coining a trillion dollar platinum coin to deposit at the FED, who would then cancel the Treasury’s debts.

This will not happen, first and foremost, because the insane monetary system relies on debt as its lifeblood, as such, any debt cancellation by the underlying foundation of US Treasury debt is out of the question.

Second, it must be recognized that coining a trillion dollar coin, theoretically equal to 1/60 of global GDP, that anyone other than the FED would accept at face value, is impossible, it simply flies in the face of reason.  The FED has been paying 100 cents on the dollar for the MBS toilet paper that banks have sold to them for years now, as such, any concept of value left the halls of the Federal Reserve years ago.

The third reason is that the US debt at the FED has already been largely canceled via the FED’s various QE operations over the past several years. For the reasoning as to why the official US Debt held by the FED hasn’t been lowered to better reflect its true drag on GDP, we refer fellow taxpayers back to reason one.

We will present more data to back this claim in the coming week. In the meantime, if someone offers you a trillion dollar coin, be sure to check the spot price of platinum before making a more reasonable counter-offer. In any event, you are better off holding the platinum, as someday it will be worth are least a trillion Federal Reserve notes, the shills at the FED and Treasury have assured it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

What is a Virtual CFO?

12/3/2012 Portland, Oregon - Pop in your mints…
What is a Virtual CFO?  At The Mint, we like to sum it up in the words of one of John Travolta's greatest characters, Chili Palmer from the classic Get Shorty:

"Bo Catlett: Harry called you his associate.  What exactly does that mean? I mean, I never heard your name, or read it in Variety, or The Star, or anyplace.

Chili Palmer: It's what he said, I'm his associate.

Bo Catlett: You must bring something heavy to the deal.

Chili Palmer: I do: me."

To help readers to fully grasp this captivating analogy, we have prepared the following legend to accompany the above movie quote:

Harry:  You, our client
Bo Catlett - Any banker, vendor, potential investor, potential partner, government regulator, tax collector, client, CPA, attorney, or loan shark.
Chili Palmer:  The Mint (us) as your Virtual CFO.
Associate:  The Virtual CFO.
If you need a CFO, but don't want or need to pay one full time, we're here to help.
As your Virtual CFO, we take care of your high level number problems, plain and simple.  As an entrepreneur, you know your business like the back of your hand, and you can tell by feel when things are going well, and when they are not.
However, there comes a time when every Entrepreneur begins to panic.  They understand that they have generated a flurry of activity in which money changes hands.  They may even have a vague understanding of which of their actions are profitable and which ones cost them money, on net, to perform.
The entrepreneur is also painfully aware that their time is limited.  In order to take their vision to the next level, they need to know, with absolute certainty, that what they are doing is scalable, meaning that it will continue to be profitable as it expands.
What many entrepreneurs do at this point, in the midst of this all to common panic attack, is to engage a CPA to help with their company's financial management.  The CPA, in turn, begins to bill on the order of $150 per hour as the entrepreneur passes along problems to the CPA that most well trained bookkeepers can handle, or worse, the entrepreneur begins to spend their priceless time mired in the details of the accounting of their organization.  Again, a task generally best left to the well-trained bookkeeper.
As the CPA fees begin to mount, the entrepreneur then relents and decides that they need a CFO.  They are not certain why, but they believe that this magical individual can help to reassure them that the numbers are working in their favor as well as eliminate their CPA bill.
What the unhappy entrepreneur finds, once the CFO is hired, is that not only has their CPA bill not gone away, but they now have a staff person who, all in, represents between $100,000 to $200,000 USD of direct annual costs and any number of indirect costs as they begin to hire their friends, recommend large investments in accounting software, and create incessant demands on the already overworked and underpaid, above mentioned, well-trained book keeper, the non-key position that it seems always needs to be filled by an expensive recruiting agency by someone who sees it as a stepping stone to their next gig.
As a result, the unhappy entrepreneur is left rolling the dice with the integrity of their financial data and often must resort to hiring an expensive consultant to piece together the rubble of his or her precious financial data, from which they had hoped, before the nightmare of the full time CFO began, to glean useful information from by which to guide their entrepreneurial activities.
There must be a better way.
Enter The Mint's Virtual CFO service, where we offer all of the benefits of having a CFO, without the high direct and indirect costs, which are often associated with the creation of a position that all too often morphs into a sinecure.
Our value proposition is simple:  For $1,000 each month that you engage our services, you and your company receive 10 ours of our undivided attention, with no strings or golden parachutes attached.
What will we do for you in those 10 hours each month?  Depending upon your needs, we will take the financial statements produced by your happy, well-trained bookkeeper on a monthly basis and perform one or all of the following:
- Create a detailed ratio analysis in the form of a dashboard containing ratios and other financial metrics specifically tailored to gauge your company's financial health and forward looking prospects.
- Benchmark your dashboard data against that of your competitors to the extent possible.
- Participate in on-going Strategic Planning.
- Make specific recommendations for improving profitability.
- Perform risk assessments for proposed transactions.
- Perform information systems assessments and oversight for finance, operations, and administrative systems.
- Provide a framework for and assistance in the enterprise budgeting process and create related forecasting activities.
- Create projections of results, cash flow and cash positioning.
- Assess organizational structure and create recommendations for optimization.
- Assess our company's capital structure and make recommendations for optimization.
- Perform business valuations and financial due diligence for potential acquisitions.
- Review of contracts.
- Create requests for proposals to engage banking, credit, audit, tax, accounting software, payroll software, and treasury management services to ensure you get the best value and a product that works for your company when engaging these services.
- Act as a true, independent advisor.
- Much more.
In short, as an Entrepreneur, we've got your back so that you can do what you do best.
What we don't do:
- Sign contracts on your behalf or act as a direct agent for your company (unless you explicitly request us to and then, only under parameters which you set and are comfortable with.)
- Day to day accounting entry, accounts payable, bank reconciliations, and data entry.  This is what you pay your well-trained, happy bookkeeping staff to do at a fraction of the hourly cost of our services.
- Tell you how to run your business.  You are still the boss and the one with the most skin in the game, after all!
- Take an equity stake in your company in exchange for services.  We work on a fee basis, which helps us to better help you with the objectivity required to act in your best interests.  Granting equity stakes, while ultimately being an incredibly expensive way to finance expansion, often comes with the nasty side effect of unnecessary hard feelings and, or, the destruction of your precious enterprise.  Tempting as it may be to be to get in on the ground of the next IBM, we generally advise against granting equity stakes unless it is part of a well structured and documented equity financing plan which is crystal clear to all involved.
What if I require more than 10 hours of your time?
We generally work very efficiently and strive to over deliver to every client.  At a minimum, you will receive a financial dashboard, benchmarking and ratio analysis, and a brief state of the financial union memo with recommendations and relevant forecasts. 
However, if you are contemplating a large acquisition, negotiating a merger, senior debt sale, bond issuance, or restructuring existing debt, converting a software system, etc, we will do whatever humanly possible with whatever time remains.  Anything over the allotted 10 hours we bill out at $150 per hour.
We are efficiency freaks, which is good when it comes to numbers and finance, and many production processes (save wine, cheese, and the like).  With the proper data, equipment, and communications devices, we can generally accomplish in 10 hours what many CFOs accomplish in a month.
Finally, if you need us to bring something heavy to the deal, we will help you to make sure that the deal is valuable enough to you that our $150/hr fee will be a pittance compared to what is gained by our involvement.

What industries do we serve?
Over the course of our professional career, we have had the good fortune to gain a wide variety of experience in the areas of Accounting, Finance, Information Systems, business valuation, Auditing, and Tax matters for a wide variety of companies, both for profit and non profit, in industries as varied as translation and writing to Health Services, Real Estate Development, Property Management, Social services, and packaging.  We have even done a stint in the barricade business.
Intrigued?  Contact us today for a free consultation to see if your company would be a good fit for our services.  Our joy is in your success.
After all, $1,000 a month is a small price to pay for piece of mind as your business grows.  It looks even better when you run the numbers on hiring a full time CFO.
Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.
Stay Fresh!
Key Indicators for December 3 2012
Copper Price per Lb: $3.63
Oil Price per Barrel:  $88.92
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.49 
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.63%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,719 THE GOLD RUSH IS ON!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.9%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.1%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  12,966
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,377,300,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,302,300,000,000

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Middle East Conflict Analysis: Will Hillary Clinton’s visit to Middle East will result in US engagement?

11/20/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Here at The Mint, we have been following with great interest the recent escalation in the conflict in the Middle East.  It is understood by many that the grievances between the Israelis and the Palestinians are seemingly irreconcilable.  Today, we will attempt to provide a bit of background, along with details we have gathered from various sources regarding the current dynamic, and engage in speculation as to potential outcomes.


While the divisions in the region have deep historical roots, we have attempted to gain what understanding we can of the modern conflict.  Our reading on the matter has been limited to The Bible, The Haj, and The Source, as such, we recognize that our bias is Pro-Israeli.

From these sources, we have cobbled together the following understanding:  Beginning in the early 1900′s as Jewish settlers began to populate Palestine in an attempt to create a homeland where the Jewish people, who had suffered persecution in every other land on the planet, could relocate to escape said persecution.
The logical place to do this, from the Jewish point of view, was to purchase land in the area where the ancient Kingdom of Israel had been.  The Jews then worked to establish settlements and to encourage Jewish pilgrims and refugees to come home.  In 1947, after the ethnic cleansing that the Jews suffered during World War II, the Jewish settlers appealed to the United Nations for statehood and recognition by the International Community.

On November 29, 1947, with the UN divided on the matter (which required a 2/3 majority vote for passage), the Philippines relented to pressure from the United States and cast the deciding vote in favor, and Israel for all practical purposes was recognized by the UN.

{Editor’s Note:  We present the UN vote as an EPIC FAIL of large scale “democracy by proxy,” and again make the case for small scale democratic systems left to operate in a large scale anarchic environment, which would allow peace to prosper as the small scale systems tacitly work towards the stalemates presented in “The Strategy of Conflict“, which is a discussion for another day.}

On May 15, 1948, when the British Mandate in Palestine officially expired, the predominantly Arab countries surrounding Israel attacked her and were repelled.  It could be said that hostilities in the region have continued on and off ever since.  Naturally, the Arab States refuse to recognize Israel’s existence to this day, and the situation in Palestine may be the most marked example of how the simple drawing of border lines has caused ceaseless bloodshed and heartache for those involved, with the ultimate losers being the inhabitants of what is today understood to be Palestine, those lands in Palestine which are not part of the Jewish state.  These refugees were evacuated from their lands by the Arab states with the promise of inhabiting all of Palestine once the Jewish state was eliminated, and are now held hostage, in a sense, by both the Arab states and Israel.

We now fast forward from what undoubtedly is a biased History lesson to the present situation and, again more importantly, what is likely to occur.

The Present Dynamic

In the most recent escalation in hostilities, which began on November 15, 2012, both Hamas and Israel have continued their mutual assaults despite rumors that a cease fire is being negotiated by Egypt.  To summarize recent events, a number of short and medium range rockets, amongst them the Fajr-5, which has now been used to target both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, have been launched from the Gaza strip at Israeli population centers.

In response, Israel has called up reserves and is preparing a force of roughly 100,000 for a ground assault into Gaza, with the goal of neutralizing the longer range threat that the Fajr-5 presents.

Even casual observers will note that 100,000 troops is quite a bit of manpower, in fact, it exceeds the number of troops that the US currently has deployed in Afghanistan.  Why would Israel, which should hold a clear technical advantage over its adversaries (leading many observers to sympathize with the Palestinians, a phenomenon known as “Underdogma” made famous by Michael Prell), call up so much firepower to deal with Gaza?  One response is the prospect of prolonged urban warfare in Gaza City, where a portion of the Hamas rocket cache may be located.

Speculation on possible outcomes

However, given the timing of the Israeli response, just weeks after the US Presidential elections, it is just as likely that Israel is using the current conflict as a launch pad towards a unilateral operation to destroy Iran’s nuclear program and eliminate what Israel sees as its most urgent existential threat.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, more than alluded to this in his September speech at the United Nations as he all but called for an invasion of Iran.  With the re election of the Obama administration in the US, historically Israel’s closest ally, Netanyahu understands that the US is likely to stay on the sidelines in the near future and is taking the Iranian matter into his own hands.

Nadeem Walayat, the clairvoyant analyst at The Market Oracle, speculates that the ground campaign in Gaza is the first phase of a three phase operation.  In order to attack Iran with minimal civilian casualties, Israel must first remove the threat of short and medium range rocket attacks by Iranian proxies on its population centers as such attacks would immediately begin were Israel to immediately attack Iran.

According to Walayat, Israel would attack Gaza and then Hezbollah in Lebanon, hoping to seal up these theaters of conflict before launching what by any account would be a risky assault on Iran.  Either Iran is desperately close to developing a nuclear weapon, or Netanyahu is desperately seeking reelection.  Whatever the motive, it should be clear that Israel is intent on dismantling Iran’s nuclear capabilities and that they view the present circumstances in the region give them the best opportunity for success, meaning neutralizing Iran’s nuclear program with limited fallout in the region or beyond.

Another part of the regional dynamic which is may greatly aid or hurt the Israeli strategy, depending upon how it plays out, is the conflict in Syria.  The protracted conflict in Syria has caused Hezbollah to conserve rockets and other armaments which they would otherwise train on Israel in anticipation of a possible civil war breaking out in Lebanon.  The recent international recognition of the Syrian opposition has only increased this threat.

At this point, Hezbollah could just as easily be drawn into deeply into a conflict in Lebanon as it could be in Israel.  The current state of events in Syria favors the Israeli plan, if indeed Mr. Walayat is correct. 

However, should Israel be drawn into a protracted operation in Gaza, Hezbollah could choose to strike the Israelis first and open up a second front, which would begin to stretch Israel’s armed forces and slow their strategy which, in order to be successful, must be carried out in a matter of months.

Another wildcard in a situation that is full of them is that the recent spillover from Syria into Turkey has the potential to draw German troops and NATO assets into the theater.

Against this backdrop, Washington DC is panicking (as a result of having no strategy in the Middle East) and has dispatched Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to bring the big brother (or sister, as it were) element into the mix.

Clinton, along with Egyptian officials, will attempt to broker a ceasefire between Israel, Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which, according to Stratfor, is in control of at least some of the Fajr-5 rocket cache in Gaza.

The most recent report from Stratfor on the matter indicates that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas will negotiate together.  The key demand of Israel is the grounding and confiscation of rockets in Gaza to neutralize the threat.  If this can be achieved via a Cease fire, which would likely mean Israeli or even US involvement overseeing the removal of the weapons and preventing further rockets from entering Gaza, Israel will have achieved its objective and a ground assault into Gaza would be unnecessary.

If this is the outcome, expect Israel to concentrate both diplomatic and military efforts on the Iranian threat and ignore Hezbollah, as they will perceive that the US has their back, both literally and figuratively.

If, on the other hand, the Egyptians insist on assuming the role of policing the rocket removal and preventing shipments, a condition that Israel is unlikely to agree to, we anticipate that Israel will proceed with their ground assault into Gaza.

Here at The Mint, half the world away, we hope for the best.  Perhaps the militants in Gaza will throw their rockets into the sea, and both Iran and Israel dismantle their respective nuclear programs.  Seeing this example, all of humanity will immediately lay down their weapons, dismantle their nukes, and sing kumbaya.  Anything is possible if those involved engage in IMMEDIATE FORGIVENESS and begin to live by the Golden Rule.

As this seems unlikely, we must all prepare for the worst, a middle east conflict launched in the name of self defense, which draws all of the world’s powers once again into armed conflict.

In the words of Jesse Ventura, “Nobody likes to see that…nobody.”

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint


Key Indicators for November 20, 2012

Copper Price per Lb: $3.49
Oil Price per Barrel:  $87.11
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.43
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.66%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,728 THE GOLD RUSH IS ON!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.9%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.1%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  12,789
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,458,800,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,333,800,000,000

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Carta abierta dirigida a Evo Morales Ayma

Carta abierta dirigida a Su Excelencia Evo Morales Ayma, Presidente del Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia,
Evo Morales - President of Bolivia in Brazil 2007
Evo Morales – President of Bolivia, photo taken December 17, 2007 in Brazil by Marcello Casal Jr. of Agencia Brasil
Permítame expresar mi más sincero saludo a Usted, señor Presidente, y a las honorables autoridades de la gran República Andina de Bolivia. Que puedan vivir y prosperar en la tierra bendita que habitan en la que goberna hábilmente como su humilde servidor.
He observado, tanto de cerca como de lejos, su pasión por liberar y elevar a los pueblos que habitan en las tierras que hoy conocemos como el Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia. He observado con admiración la valentía y determinación que usted ha demonstrado al llegar a su posición actual y al continuar con el trabajo diario por la liberación y la dignidad de aquellos que, durante demasiado tiempo, han sido víctimas de la opresión injusta.
Le escribo hoy por dos razones. En primer lugar, para animarlo en su lucha noble. Todos los grandes líderes, como usted sabe muy bien, enfrenten la adversidad, la crítica y la oposición de los que se ven amenazados por lo que representan. Estas fuerzas sólo han aumentado en intensidad a medida que tome medidas para reparar siglos de injusticia.
Sepa que a pesar de el ruido que hacen algunos quienes le insultan por tomar acción mientras ellos se sientan con los brazos cruzados, hay muchos, aunque sus voces sean suaves, que piden a Dios por su salud, fortaleza y sabiduría.
El segundo motivo para escribirle a usted es para ofrecerle tres principios que, a la medida que están permitidos a operar, permitan que los pueblos de la tierra conocida como Bolivia podrán sobresalir económicamente. Bolivia ya es una tierra rica. En las manos de la gente, se hará mas rica.
Junto con usted, rechazamos los principios neoliberales que han causado la destrucción de los pueblos que las han ciegamente implementado. Nuestro objetivo es brindarle las herramientas con las que no sólo Bolivia, sino todos los habitantes de la tierra, puedan lograr observar los diez mandamientos para salvar el planeta que usted ha contribuido generosamente al mundo.
Mientras que los títulos de estos principios pueden aparecer en conflicto con el primero y sexto mandamiento, le pedimos que lea atentamente las explicaciones ya que vera que el funcionamiento de estos tres principios permitirá la realización de sus diez mandamientos para salvar la tierra de la explotación.
Una palabra de precaución, es extremadamente importante que estos principios económicos operen juntos, sino, no funcionaran en absoluto:
Libertad:  Mucho se ha escrito y hablado sobre el tema de la Libertad. Pues, es el precursor de la dignidad y la piedra angular de todas las sociedades civilizadas. La Libertad, desde la perspectiva de la política económica, significa que los pueblos prosperarán a la medida en que las restricciones artificiales sobre su capacidad de trabajar, producir, e intercambiar esten eliminadas. La correlación entre la libertad económica y la sociedad civilizada es tan fuerte, que el coro del himno boliviano resuena con gran significanza:
“Morir antes que esclavos vivir”
El concepto de la libertad no debe limitarse sólo a la libre expresión y movimiento, situación en la que se encuentran la mayoría de las sociedades que pretenden que sus habitantes son libres, sino extenderse a la capacidad de una persona de participar en tanto el comercio como otras actividades sin restricciones artificiales, siempre y cuando el hecho de participar en la actividad no impide la libertad o dañe la propiedad de otros. Esta es la clave de la libertad, ya que mantiene la tierra en equilibrio. Desequilibrios peligrosos se producen cuando las Libertades de un grupo están subordinados a los de otra. Nuestro tercer principio, la igualdad ante la ley, se ocupa de que esto no suceda.
Quizás lo más importante hoy en día, la libertad debe extenderse a la esfera bancaria y a la moneda, dejando la decisión del medio mas aceptable y métodos de comercio más expedientes en manos de la gente.
Propiedad Privada: Para todas las virtudes que el principio de la libertad otorga a un pueblo, el principio no es más que una idea intangible a menos que su consecuencia natural, el principio de la propiedad privada, es respetada por igual por todos los miembros de la sociedad. El concepto de la propiedad privada es la base de cualquier actividad productiva que se desarrolla en la tierra, desde la siembra de un campo a la construcción de pozos para proveer un acceso al agua potable.
Más allá de la propia persona, una persona o grupo de personas deben tener el derecho de poseer propiedad, tanto real como personal, de la que pueden trabajar y compartir de la manera que más le plazca, con la expectativa de que van a tener la capacidad para emplear y disfrutar de los frutos de sus labores.
De la misma manera, el principio de la propiedad privada viene con la obligación de cuidar y mantener la propiedad que uno tiene a su cargo. El principio mismo es el incentivo para que las personas se animen a mantener la propiedad bajo su control, ya que la misma tiene el derecho de disfrutar o preparar para su venta a otro individuo libre dicha propiedad.
Con el fin de ser a la vez productivo y bien mantenido, la propiedad privada debe realizarse a nivel individual, familiar o comunitario. Si la propiedad se encuentra en manos del gobierno u otra entidad grande, será explotada de la misma manera que la propiedades están hoy explotadas por las grandes corporaciones, que no tienen incentivo para cuidar de él después de haber extraído la riqueza de la misma.
Igualdad ante la Ley: Los principios de la libertad y la propiedad privada deben ser asegurada para todos por medio del funcionamiento del principio de igualdad ante la ley. Para que las personas puedan prosperar económicamente, deben saber no sólo cuales acciones están permitidas, sino tambien que las leyes que hayan aplican de la misma forma a todos los miembros de la sociedad, independientemente de su nivel economico, raza, sexo, color, u origen. Sólo si existe la percepción de una igualdad ante la ley pueden las personas planificar y llevar a cabo sus actividades diarias.
La igualdad ante la ley es la base de una sociedad justa en la que las personas pueden prosperar de acuerdo con sus esfuerzos en atender a las necesidades más intensamente sentidas por su prójimo. Por lo tanto, todas las leyes en una sociedad debe centrarse en la protección tanto de la vida como en la propiedad legítima de la persona o grupo. Cualquier ley que extiende más allá de estos dos campos necesariamente sirve para limitar tanto el derecho como la libertad y la propiedad privada que deben ser considerado sagrados y permitidos a operar sin obstáculos para que el máximo de bien material pueda ser extendida a todos.
Le ofrecemos estos tres principios, sabiendo que en su sabiduría y benevolencia, los pueblos que se encuentran bajo su cuidado se beneficiarán por ellos y convertirse en la envidia de las naciones de la tierra, no por la riqueza natural que cuidan y producen, mas en la nobleza de sus convicciones.
Su dedicación y servicio al pueblo boliviano es una inspiración para toda la humanidad. Nuestro deseo es ver a todo el pueblo boliviano, y los pueblos del mundo, vivir en equilibrio y libertad con Dios, la naturaleza y entre sí.
Que Dios le bendiga a usted y a toda Bolivia.
Le deseo todo lo mejor,
David Mint