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  • The Room – 06/19/2009

    Yesterday marked the end of Obama’s first 150 days at the helm of the U.S. of A. None of us doubted that Obama was a savvy and ambitious politician, but even we are impressed by the sheer number of new initiatives the president has undertaken. In less than five months, there are very few campaign promises he has failed to tackle.

    One has to wonder, however, whether Obama may be failing to deliver on the biggest of his campaign promises – that of bringing change to Washington. Weren’t we supposed to see the end of politics as usual and of government waste and pork? Instead, we’ve gotten more of the same, with Ben Bernanke, Larry Summers, and their ilk still in charge and Geithner replacing Paulson. The doors continue to revolve between Wall Street and K Street, with the same cabal influencing policy....
  • The Room – 06/12/2009

    Again this week, I was admonished by one of your fellow dear readers, who recommended that I keep my political comments to myself. And furthermore that I, and the entire Casey team, should focus solely on finding the next great investment.

    While I can’t and won’t argue with the latter part of his advice -- that is, after all, our overarching mandate, and a mandate we take seriously - I suspect the real issue is that the political views we occasionally express run contrary to those of the author of this rebuke.

    Even so, if you give the matter any thought at all, you will almost have to conclude that the business of America is now hugely dependent on the business of government.

    As a refresher, the following – compliments of the Encyclopedia of Business – describes the two major foundations economies have typically been built on in modern times: central planning and capitalism....
  • The Room – 04/17/2009

    Being new to a profession is always a challenge. The neophyte wants to impress his superiors, but lacking experience, is left to rely upon what natural skills he possesses. And, often, will try to make up for any shortcomings in specific skills by displaying a double dose of enthusiasm and energy.

    Our new president, for example, has a great many skills related to successful politicking, but none at all specifically related to the task of being president of the world's most powerful country. This is not a job that one can prepare for.

    And so We the People, his new bosses, are left to observe Obama leaning heavily on his considerable political skills – and his obvious energy – in an attempt to impress.

    He is trying to do so through a constant stream of new pronouncements emanating from the White House, or wherever Mr. Obama happens to be standing at the moment. On one day he wishes to put an end to nuclear weapons, on the next to reach an accommodation with the Iranians. While he’s at it, he'll be (maybe) pulling the troops out of Iraq, but redeploying them into Afghanistan and maybe even Pakistan....
  • The Room – 03/27/2009

    For this edition of The Room, I'm going to try to tell a story, but using snippets from other sources with, perhaps, a side comment thrown in now and again.

    I am taking this approach because, frankly, since hopping on the plane to Las Vegas last week, the sheer volume of proposed new regulations, legislation, and plain idiocy have outstripped my processing abilities. It seems that every hour or two over the past week, there has been a breaking story that has me saying out loud, 'What, are you kidding?' Or, 'Wow... we're really in trouble now!'

    It came to me as I started writing to you this morning, that these many stories – rather than just random spatters of inanity – together form a distinct pattern. And the pattern seems to point to a new paradigm now materializing here in the U.S. and, by extension, the world.

    As I think the following stories demonstrate, the new paradigm is not one any thinking person will embrace....
  • The Room – 03/20/2009

    I worry I shall disappoint you today. After all, how can mere words, pecked out awkwardly on a shaky airplane table, adequately communicate all that has occurred this week?

    As regular readers may guess, the plane I am on is taking me to Las Vegas for our sold-out Crisis & Opportunity Summit. While the event was deliberately scheduled to give the Obama administration an opportunity to reveal its cards after having been handed Bush's busted hand, the timing has turned out to be especially propitious, coming as it is at the end of a week that seems to be of some historic significance.

    Of course, we wish you were joining us here in Las Vegas -- if you aren't -- but as your correspondent, I will certainly include notes from the event in next week's missive. But that is then, and this is now.

    And now, everything is going to hell....
  • The Room – 03/16/2009

    This week I tripped over an old musical favorite, I'm Your Captain, by Grand Funk Railroad, which is what I'm listening to as I begin this weekly missive. While the song has a little rust on it, for those of you who haven't taken a ride on Grand Funk Railroad of late, it's a nice enough trip. Now, on to what seems important this week. This week Vikram Pandit, the CEO of Citigroup, a bank that has managed to lose $38 billion over the last five quarters, sent around an internal memorandum in which he said he was "encouraged" by the company's performance so far in 2009....
  • The Room – 03/06/2009

    Of late, it seems as though I have gotten sideways with the technology deities. First, as reported recently, was my accidental deletion of an hour-and-a-half recorded interview with trading gurus Dave Hightower and Terry Roggensack. Then, yesterday, while waiting to put in a phone appearance on the U.S. Global Funds Webinar that many of you sat in on, I carefully put my speaker phone on mute (you can tell it's on because the button lights up) and set about trying to wolf down a chicken salad sandwich before it became my turn to talk. This led to being reminded of several of life's little lessons. Including....
  • The Room – 02/27/2009

    This morning, as I was looking over dispatches from correspondents around the world -- from Ed in Alberta… Sadia in the UK… Baldy in Indonesia… the 'General' in Portugal...and Nitin in Katmandu -- I began to appreciate what it must have been like to be on the news desk during World War II. I am trying not to be overly pessimistic, but there’s no denying the mass of bad news coming to us from all fronts: the forces of collectivism are using the cover of the crisis they largely created, aided and abetted by capitalism’s quislings, to roll over the individual. Even so, contained within the dire reportage is also some very good news for you personally, and I’ll touch on that as well in today’s missive....
  • The Room – 02/20/2009

    We’re going to be flying low and fast in this weekly scan of the landscape in the quest for items that are 'important,' as opposed to 'merely interesting.' At the top of the list of what we would consider important is the increasing likelihood that the wheels are about to come off the global economy. And, worse, fly through the air and wipe out any number of innocent bystanders. (By now, you and the other readers of our services should already be safely in the duck-and-cover position.) It is becoming clear that more than just our subscribers are beginning to understand the depth, severity, and nature of this crisis: as I begin writing this morning, gold has rebounded to just a few ticks away from the $1,000 mark. By the time I am finished today, we could see that mark taken out. More on that topic later, but first......
  • The Room - 01/30/2009

    Like most people, I occasionally find myself overwhelmed by the tasks involved with everyday life. This week, I have been, to use the old adage, 'working like a dog.' Though, now that I think about it, I have a hard time imagining the origin of the term. Even in his youth, my now elderly companion General Beauregard Piddle didn't seem to take on anything more rigorous than climbing up on an unattended couch for a nice nap. In any event, it's been one of 'those' weeks. And so today, as I prepared to write this weekly missive, I found myself groaning, 'Arrgh, I've got to write The Room,' to my ever patient and entirely wonderful wife. 'But,' she said, misunderstanding the nature of my apparent complaint, 'I can't see how that's a problem. There's so much to write about.' 'Exactly!' I said, 'That's the problem!' In actual fact, I almost always look forward to these weekly writings as a form of personal reflection and even entertainment... and as a usual way to keep myself in the flow of the passing parade. But some weeks – most weeks, it seems of late – the sheer volume of important news that I should comment on, at least if I were trying to be a good correspondent, is so staggering in dimension, it is a real challenge to know where to begin. So, instead, I start by writing about old dogs and wonderful wives. Go figure....
  • The Room - 01/23/09

    Like a runaway train, the crisis is heading at breakneck speed down the hill and towards the next sharp turn. Though we are reasonably sure about the ultimate destination – an inflationary wreck – we can’t be entirely sure what exactly awaits around the next corner. Is it a reasonably long straightaway that gently slopes upward for a spell, allowing the train to slow to a safer speed? Or is it a broken trestle bridge hanging over a gap a mile wide and a mile deep? Some typically random thoughts on the topic…...
  • The Room - 10/10/2008

    In last week's edition of this meandering missive, I mused as follows... "What, I wonder, will the government do when next week, or the week after maybe, the U.S. stock market takes another header for 500 points? Stay tuned. Meanwhile, gold is at $826, down considerably over the past week. Like when a tsunami sucks the water away from the shore just before hitting, we're in a transition period. I'm not worried about where gold is going next. I wish I could say the same about the world." According to the number crunchers, the U.S. stock market is on track to have its worst week since 1937. Which, as you can see from the DJIA chart here, is an acceleration of the broader trend that has held sway for some time now. While we can't yet say what action the U.S. Government will take next, glancing over the horizon, we see a growing number of countries implementing a euphemistically named "market holiday." In Iceland, all banks and markets are now enjoying a day off. And Kevin Brekke, our Switzerland-based researcher, just wrote that there is a rising call to halt trading in Germany. It would not surprise me in the slightest if the same were to occur in the U.S....
  • The Room - 10/03/2008

    We're no longer in Kansas, Dorothy. At this point, the world's financial markets are in the firm grasp of a massive tornado. Our vision is blurred with fast-moving images of abandoned houses, crumbling banks, pontificating politicians, alien-looking Treasury secretaries on one knee, and suicide stock and commodities charts. When the whole mess crashes back on terra firma, the landscape will look considerably different. But, what? We remain convinced that the result, with the unavoidable time lag, will be inflation on an epic, global scale. But if history provides one lesson in rich abundance, it is that the future is unpredictable. Who is to say that the government of these United States -- and of similarly indebted and in-trouble countries "over there" -- aren't too late to the game? Or that even $700 billion, or a trillion... or...?... will not prove to be too little, too late?...
  • The Room 8/22/08

    Summer weather, at least that of the preferable sort, has finally returned to the corner of the globe where your correspondent sits listening, too loudly, to Michael Franti's Yell Fire!. For those of you unfamiliar with Franti and his band Spearhead, his genre is what might be termed "Revolution Rock"... as in taking it to "the man." While I don't agree with many of his lyrics, which skew far left, I do like the music and his thematic focus on peace and, paradoxically, burning things down. Regrettably, in his view the rebuilding would be of a socialist paradise. It is, of course, deeply ingrained in human nature to want everything wrapped up in a nice utopian package. Problems arise, however, because one person's idea of utopia is another's idea of hell. And, inevitably, even utopia's champions awaken one morning in full agreement that their vision was hell... just ask Robespierre or Trotsky. In the end, no one gets their utopia because the entire notion is merely a dangerous fiction that, in the attempt, leads only to the disenfranchisement of one group or groups in favor of another. And, in time, of everyone....