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George Blackburne

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The Miracle of Fractional Banking

Posted by George Blackburne on Tue, Jan 17, 2023

Screen Shot 2023-01-16 at 2.18.00 PMJoke Du Jour:

An actual conversation a friend of mine had this morning with her son:

Her:  "Eat your breakfast."
Him:  "Why?"
Her:  "You want to grow up to be super smart, don't you?"
Him:  "No.  I want to grow up to be like daddy."

 

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Fun Stuff:

My wife and I watched a strange but captivating free movie on Netflix this week, Hold The Dark.  Children are being dragged off by starving wolves.  When a naturalist arrives to hunt down the wolves, really weird and violent events erupt.  The wolves may not be the guilty parties.  Close your blinds and build a fire.  I promise you will shiver.  Wow-zowie, you will never see this "stuff" coming.  [Nothing supernatural]

The Miracle of Fractional Banking:

When the Federal government creates $100 in new money, that $100 quickly increases the U.S. money supply by a whopping $2,000.  That's a 20:1 growth rate.  This is the miracle of fractional banking.

Life is much easier during periods of easy money.  Banks have more money to loan.  Companies have money to expand, increase production, and hire more workers.  Wages often even rise, as expanding companies compete for workers.

 

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Here is how most new money is really created:  The government spends more than its revenue.  [Gasp, really?]  It borrows the difference, but that is a subject for another day.  The point is that the government spends money.  Let's say $100.

That $100 ends up deposited in a some bank.  We'll call this bank, Bank A.  Bank A keeps 5% in reserve, per banking regulations, and then it lends out $95 to say, Joe's Barber Shop to add another chair.  Joe pays $95 to Steve's Barber Chair Company for that new barber chair.

Steve eventually deposits that $95 in some different bank, say, Bank B.  Bank B keeps 5% of $95 in reserve and loans out the remaining $90.25.  That $90.25 ends up in Bank C, which keeps 5% in reserve and loans out the remaining $85.74.

 

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The process continues until that original $100 has grown to $2,000.  When the reserve requirement is 5%, the money multiplier or deposit multiplier is twenty.  

What if, in order to cool down bank lending and the rapid growth in the money supply,  the Fed increases the reserve requirement from 5% to 8%? The money multiplier falls to 12.5.

How did we reach this money multiplier of 12.5?  The formula is one divided by the reserve requirement of 8%, expressed as a decimal.  Therefore 1/.08 = 12.5.

 

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Amazing Industrial Story from Iceland:

Iceland???  Yup.  Talk about being in Bum Flowers, Egypt - the middle of nowhere.  Haha!

The Wall Street Journal had a fascinating story this week about a small company in a suburb of Reykjavik, Iceland, that builds machines to process fish.  Until recently, vast loads of fish were frozen and shipped to China to be processed. 

When the pandemic hit, and shipping went to hell, fisheries across the world were in a world of hurt.  Suddenly this tiny company in Iceland starts selling a large number of amazing machines for the fisheries to process the fish right on site.

This manufacturing plant in Iceland must be huge, right?  Nope.  This tiny manufacturing company merely has seven 3D printers that print metal parts.  

 

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You can print metal parts?  Yup.  In a process called additive manufacturing, the machines spray metal dust in layers into the molds.  The metal dust is then treated with intense light.  This changes its composition to a hardened metal in a perfect shape.

This fish processing machine manufacturer is running its 3D printers 24-hours per day, seven days per week.  

Three-D printing is the future of manufacturing.  No longer do parts need to be manufactured in China.  Instead, companies possessing a LiquidMetal machine only need the design and specifications of any desired part.  Then they can simply make any parts needed right on site. 

GM and other auto companies are now winding down their huge inventories of auto parts for older vehicles.  Instead, when needed, the auto makers can simply manufacture any older parts needed.  Wow.

 

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Topics: Fractionalized banking

2023 Will Be a Banner Year - 4% Growth

Posted by George Blackburne on Wed, Jan 4, 2023

Screen Shot 2023-01-03 at 4.28.31 PMJoke Du Jour:

Q:  What steps would you take if a madman came rushing at you with a knife?
A:  Great big ones! 

Fun Stuff:

Looking around for a free movie, I stumbled across the 2016 movie, The Legend of Tarzan, on Peacock.  I loved it. 

 

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The movie has an adult theme - diamonds and slavery.  Set in the Belgium Congo in 1889, the movie is gritty and meant to be believed.  It succeeded marvelously.  It stars Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) as the bad guy and a young Margot Robbie as Tarzan's courageous wife.  [Sigh of love]  Do you remember how we were all captivated by Catherine Zeta-Jones in the original Zorro?  Same thing.

Our Bright Economic Future:

Don't get confused.  This stock market is still overvalued, especially with the Fed having raised rates back to historic norms.  The stock market will still likely bleed slowly downwards.  That being said...

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All of the experts are predicting that the United States will suffer a recession in 2023.  I think the experts are wrong for the reasons I outlined in an earlier blog article.

In fact, I predict that the U.S. have a banner year for GDP growth in 2023, enjoying growth as high as 4%.  We will leave China in the dust.  

Basically, there have been no massive malinvestments - boneheaded investments that blow up, go almost to zero, and thereby impoverish the people.  Examples of malinvestments include tulips, the South Sea joint-stock Bubble, money backed by land in Louisiana (Mississippi Bubble), vacant office buildings, dot-com stocks, and subprime mortgages.

 

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What about crypto?   “Only" about $919 billion was invested in cryptocurrencies, and most of that was by the uber-wealthy.  I don’t think cryptocurrency losses will be enough to send the U.S. into a recession.

In the meantime, most U.S. corporations are lean, mean, and profitable.  Supply chain problems are now either solved or are close to being solved.  China is also coming back on line, further clearing the parts, products, and shipping logjams.

Unemployment is next to nothing, and fresh, hungry labor is sneaking daily across the border.  I think our economic future is so bright that we gotta wear shades.

 

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China may never catch up to the U.S. in terms of GDP.   China has just not reached the level of political maturity necessary to avoid a social implosion.  As Iran is currently learning, a dictator cannot hold down his people forever.

China’s impressive GDP growth has in recent years been driven by massive debt.  One China expert described described its economy as a train with a burning caboose.  The moment the train slows, the fire will jump to the second to the last car and then the third.  Only by rushing forward (creating new debt) can the train escape destruction.

Do you remember those massive GDP numbers that came out of China for the past two decades?  In recent years, it’s been all smoke and mirrors.  There are now 63 million newly-built and vacant homes in China.  You can’t build buggy whip factories in the middle of the desert and legitimately count them towards your country's GDP.

 

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Most of those vacant homes will never be occupied because China’s population went negative several years ago.  The government can fudge the birth numbers, but they have inadvertently been releasing honest statistics as to the number of diapers sold.  Busted.  Haha!  Those 63 million vacant homes counted towards GDP in prior years.   

There is an even more important reason why I am optimistic about 2023.  Lockheed just finished its last test of our new hypersonic missiles.  The missile tests were a resounding success.  The United States is now rushing to mass produce them.  By April of 2024, Taiwan, Japan, and the U.S. will be bristling with missiles.

These missiles will be able to pluck Chinese landing craft right out of the sea.  Poof.  China will not be able to invade Taiwan and start a conventional world war in 2024 or later.

 

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What about this April, before the U.S. takes delivery of any newly-constructed intermediate-range missiles?  That’s the window that scares me silly.

Well, right now everyone in China is (intentionally?) sick with COVID.  Will China’s army and navy be healthy enough to attack in April?  I am praying that too many of China's fighting men will be too sick to invade during this final window.  April is the only month when the South China Sea is calm enough for landing craft.  We just have to get through to May.

If May arrives, and the invasion window closes, I am going to host a giant Zoom Beer Drinking Party.  The theme will be, “George is Retarded.”  Note to the Political Correctness Police:  You are allowed to use the word "retarded" when you are talking about yourself.

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Me after Christmas:

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Everyone has to show up to the George is Retarded Zoom Party with a beer (or wine or whiskey).  Bring along a good joke, if you have one.  

I had one such Zoom beer drinking party about two years ago, and it was a blast.  We had about sixty friends, and before I got totally wasted, I shared 30 solid practice tips.  Tons of fun.  Look for an invitation… or an incoming missile.  Haha!  

I still would not be a buyer of real estate in Hawaii or Guam right now.  Most people get over COVID in two or three weeks.  It troubles me that the national news agency in China, at least in one province, was telling people that it's okay to go to work if you are sick.  What's the big hurry to get everyone sick (and over it), President Xi?

 

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Topics: 2023 Will Be a Booming Year

Just Fun Stuff Today

Posted by George Blackburne on Fri, Dec 23, 2022

Screen Shot 2022-12-23 at 12.44.18 PMJoke Du Jour:

A henpecked man got tired of his wife constantly picking on him, so he started playing poker on Friday nights with his buddies, just to get some relief.  As soon as he came home, she'd start right in on him again.

After several weeks went by, he came home early one Friday night about 9:30. His wife asked him how come he was home so early.  He told her, "You need to pack your bags and go to Herb's house.  I lost you to him in the card game tonight."

His wife was furious and started to give him hell.  She screamed, "Just how could you do such a thing!?"  He replied, "It was the hardest thing I've ever done.  I had to fold with four aces and a king."

 

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Fun Stuff:

Sylvester Stallone is 75-years-old.  How could the the Paramount+ show, Tulsa King be any good?  First of all, it's produced by Taylor Sheridan, the same guy who produces the smash hits, Yellowstone ("Don't make me go Beth Dutton on you"), 1883, and now 1923.  Secondly, Sylvester Stallone still has the "it-factor".  The show enjoys a rating of 4.8 on the Rotten Tomatoes scale.  Watch it!

Is It a Good Thing That Everyone in China is Sick?

I wrote a blog article last week that posed the question, "Can China invade Taiwan if everyone is sick?"  Suddenly I was hopeful.  Maybe April would come and go without the start of World War III (a conventional war) and without the U.S. losing most of its Pacific Fleet.

Then I read an article about how President Xi's grip on his dictatorship may not be rock solid.  Lots of things have gone wrong there.

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China's best, brightest, and richest are fleeing the country.  Their property market has collapsed, taking a big chunk of the life's savings of the Chinese people.  Local governments are bust because they cannot find buyers for their state-owned land, which is how they fund local government.  

The country is mired in debt.  This summer, electricity was being rationed (Elon Musk wonders why his electric car sales are down in China?), and blackouts were common.  There is a four-day waiting list to cremate the elderly, who are drooping in droves due to COVID.  And this is after being locked up in their apartments for two years.

The situation is volatile.  The thing to watch out for is riots in China, protesting the rule of Xi and the Chinese Communist Party.

 

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I don't know.  Desert island.  Ginger?  Marianne?  :-)

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When people protest in China, they have now taken to holding up blank white signs.  This way they cannot be imprisoned for speaking out against the government.  Everyone in China knows what they are really saying.  "Xi, Get the F-Out." 

President Xi doesn't want to die.  It's interesting to note that after graduating from Harvard, Xi's daughter is staying in the U.S.  Hmmm.

If the protests get bad, rather than being deposed and shot, Xi will likely try to unite the Chinese people by starting a war with the U.S.  We would lose such a war badly.  So watch for signs of riots in China and a military buildup on its Eastern coast.  It means the Chinese are coming.

 

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If you see these warning signs, sell-sell-sell your stocks and buy as many gold coins as you can get your hands on.  There is a huge difference between holding gold positions (gold mining stocks, gold bullion funds, gold mutual funds, gold futures contracts, etc.) and actual gold coins.  The former will be worthless when authorities shut down the exchanges and reverse all gold trades.  

But actual gold coins in your grubby, little hands?  They should skyrocket as the U.S. dollar plummets.  If you bought $100,000 in actual gold coins, you might be able to pay off your $400,000 mortgage.  Prices could go, "To the moon, Alice!"  

So you should actually be watching for three things - riots in China, signs of a military buildup on China's coast, and a sharp increase in the price of gold.  I check the price of gold every day.

 

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Final Funny:

There was once a handyman, who had a dog named Mace.  Mace was a great dog, except he had one weird habit.  He liked to eat grass -- not just a little bit, but in quantities that would make a lawnmower blush.

Nothing, it seemed, could cure him of it.  One day, the handyman lost his wrench in the tall grass while he was working outside.  He looked and looked, but it was nowhere to be found. 

As it was getting dark, he gave up for the night and decided to look the next morning. When he awoke, he went outside and saw that his dog had eaten all the grass in the area around where he had been working.  His wrench now lay in plain sight, glinting in the sun.

Reaching down to pick up his wrench, our grateful handyman, with love in his heart, sang,

"A grazing Mace, how sweet the hound,
that saved a wrench for me."

Booooo!  Hiss!  That one was terrible.  Hahahaha!

 

Won't you please share this with your broker or investor buddy?

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This was today, honest!  :-)

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irreverent stuff, market insights, and training tips.

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Topics: fun stuff and commercial loans

Can China Invade Taiwan This April If Everyone is Sick?

Posted by George Blackburne on Mon, Dec 19, 2022

Screen Shot 2022-12-19 at 9.35.09 AMJoke Du Jour:

At a naval barracks the enlisted men were being given their shots prior to going overseas.  One lad, having received his whole series of injections, asked for a glass of water.  "What's the matter?" asked the hospital corpsman. "Do you feel light-headed?"  "No, just checking to see if I'm still watertight."

 

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Fun Stuff:

One of the best shows on TV these days is surprisingly, Wednesday, on Netflix.  Give it just three minutes, and you'll be hooked like a junkie in a seedy alley.  The premise sounds stupid, but you'll soon be pinching yourself and saying, "This is a really clever show."  Wednesday was the short, very dark, daughter in the original, Adams Family, who would torture her little brother, Pugsley.  

Could COVID Save Us From an April Invasion?

How can China invade Taiwan and start a conventional world war if everyone is sick?  

As you know, I greatly fear that China will invade Taiwan and start a conventional World War III this April, less than four months from now.  Such attacks happen in real life life to real people.  My father was an artillery captain in charge of the shore batteries on the island of Oahu (Pear Harbor) in 1941.  He had no ammunition for his French 75's.

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Why this April?  April is the only time when the South China Seas are calm enough for landing craft.  

Why this particular April?  Right now the U.S. has very few intermediate range missiles and zero hypersonic missiles.  We were banned from producing them by the INF Treaty with Russia for twenty years.  President Trump finally abrogated that treaty in 2019, but by them the U.S. was very much in a hole.

April is an ideal time for China to strike because currently they can hit us from such a long distances that we cannot hit them back.  They will win if they come in April.

 

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Two days ago, however, Lockheed released some very significant military news.   Lockheed just conducted the last of its important tests of our own hypersonic missiles.

The missile was released from a bomber, and this time the release mechanism actually worked.  The missile flew at five times the speed of sound.  It zigged and zagged like an angry garden hose, and then our test missile hit the target right in the bullseye.  In every category, the U.S. hypersonic missile test was a success!  Hooray.

That's the good news.  The bad news is that we don't have any of these wonderful new missiles.  Now that the tests are complete, we have to start to mass-produce them; but there is no way that they will be ready by this April.  

 

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The Chinese will win the war if they invade this April.   A recent war game revealed that we would lose two carriers and 30,000 highly-trained young sailors in the first 30 days of the war.  "We get our butts kicked," said one admiral.

I am listening to a 31-episode podcast entitled, The Fall of Rome.  Want to know the real reason why Rome fell?  Roman generals kept declaring themselves Emperor.  Civil war after civil war killed off too many of Rome's best officers and centurions.  By the time the Visigoths and the Vandals marched on Rome, there were too few trained Roman soldiers alive to stop them.

We cannot lose these 30,000 highly-trained sailors!  President Biden, please pull our fleets back behind Hawaii.  Without missiles of our own that can fly 1,300 miles, our ships are simply sitting ducks.  When Lockheed has manufactured and deployed 2,000 of our own intermediate range hypersonic missiles, then our fleet can return to retake Taiwan, Guan, and Okinawa.

 

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But something has happened recently in China.  The Chinese people got fed up with being cooped up in their apartments. They protested and won their own release.  Now they are out and about, and so is COVID.  

Experts expect 800 million cases of COVID, but most of them will be relatively mild.  Deaths of between 500,000 and one million are expected; a rate not nearly as bad as that suffered in the West.  The bad news for China is that their vaccines are only about half as effective as those produced in the West.  The good news is that when the authorities tell the people to get vaccinated, they get vaccinated.

Okay, so how does all of this affect the likelihood of a Chinese invasion this April?  First of all, now that the U.S. finally knows how to produce hypersonic missiles, you can bet that the invasion will not come in April of 2024 or after.  

 

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Our new hypersonic missiles will be so accurate that those Chinese landing craft will be plucked one-by-one out the water.  "Fly to these coordinates, find the nearest ship, zig when it zigs, zag when it zags, fly down it's smokestack, and then explode."  

Clearly an invasion in April of 2024 is therefore out of the question.  This successful American missile test definitely makes April of 2023 President Xi's only window to invade.  If the Chinese are ever coming, it must be this April.  I definitely do not recommend a vacation to Guam this coming March.

But how can the Chinese invade if half of their soldiers are down with COVID?  Remember, modern COVID vaccines are lousy at preventing sickness; but they are very good at preventing hospitalization and death.  COVID could end up saving the world from a billion combat deaths if the Chinese cannot launch their invasion this April.

 

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But there is another problem.  Remember the line from above, "The Chinese people protested and won their release."  They learned the power of their own numbers.  That is not good news for President Xi and the Chinese Communist Party.

Xi has essentially destroyed the Chinese economic miracle.  No longer are international factories being set up in China.  New factories now go to Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, or Bangladesh.  Apple is moving all new computer assembly to India.  Instead of "off-shoring", manufacturing companies now talk of "friend-shoring" (moving to Vietnam); near-shoring (moving to Mexico); or re-shoring (moving back to the states).

 

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It was once believed that it was only a matter of time before China's GDP surpassed that of the U.S.  The Chinese people put up with the CCP because they guaranteed a 6% to 8% annual increase in the level of China's wealth.  Today, China's real GDP growth - factoring out the construction of even more vacant homes - may actually be negative.  

The quality of life in China is no longer improving.  Is it time for a new lifetime leader?  My fear is that new riots will arise between now and April.  President Xi, in a desperate attempt to preserve his own life, may attempt to unify his people by picking a war with the U.S.  The invasion of Taiwan would likely ignite World War III, a conventional war but still a very devastating one.

So please pray with me that we see no riots in China this winter.  Maybe sickness and the winter's cold will keep the Chinese people indoors.  We just have to survive until mid-May, when this last invasion window will be closed.

 

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Topics: Saved by COVID

Commercial Loans, Fun Stuff, and Where on Earth is Ephesis?

Posted by George Blackburne on Wed, Dec 14, 2022

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Joke Du Jour:

She:  "Honey, I don't like you with the new glasses on."
He:  "But sweetheart, I don't wear any glasses."
She:  "True, but I do."  Ouch!

Commercial Loan Tip:

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Fun Stuff:

My wife and I just finished watching the Amazon Prime limited TV series, The English,  starring Emily Blunt (John Krasinski's better half - The Office, Jack Ryan).   OMG, it was fantastic and very surprising.  The six-episode mini-series ended last night, and I keep thinking about it.  It covers a subject area never before covered on TV.  I recommend it highly.

Where on Earth is Ephesis?

My 43-year-old hard money shop, Blackburne & Sons, (the nation's oldest), is based in Sacramento, California; but my bride and I live in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Indiana?  Why so far away from my office?

Cisca and I moved to Indiana 23 years to send our three wonderful children to Culver Military Academy.  Best high school in America.  No question.  Phenomenally expensive.  Each of my three kids got a large scholarship.  God bless you, Culver!

 

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True meaning

 

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My son, Tom, roomed with the son of the Governor of a state in Mexico, who arrived in a helicopter and was protected by two guards with submachine guns.  Why was this governor worth $100 million when his state salary was just $60,000?  Hmmm.  Tom even  played baseball with the the grandson of George Steinbrenner, the owner of the Yankees.

Anyway, during the Spring Break of their junior year, it is customary for Culver students to take an international service trip.  I always accompanied my kids.

I climbed the Great Wall of China with George IV.  It was steep!  Yikes.  George IV hilariously grossed out his friends by plucking out and eating a fisheye with his chopsticks.  Eeuuu.  Funny.

 

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I spent the best day of my entire life with my son, Tom, in Sydney, Australia.  Beautiful, spotless city.  Hired a limo, saw the famous Sydney Opera House, took the harbor cruise (best weather of the year), and saw where each of the famous pirates were hung.  Finally we headed for Bondai Beach.  

I learned afterwards that there are more shark attacks on Bondai Beach than any other beach in the world.  Did I pucker?  Never had another kid.  Just sayin'.  Haha!

We rented a surfing coach, boards, and sand shirts.  Then we discovered that Bondai Beach was topless!  A study revealed that British girls are the most amply endowed women in the world, and there must have been 1,000 Aussie beauties on that beach.  Like I said, "Best day of my life."  [Chuckle.]

 

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On to Greece:

My daughter chose to go to Greece for her Spring international trip.  We climbed the Acropolis to see the Parthenon, that famous Greek temple.  We ate at the Plaka, the famous open-air market at the foot of the Acropolis in Athens, and we shared our dinner with a dozen sweet, irresistible cats - the little beggars.  Haha!  

We saw the battleground of Thermopylae (300 Spartans) and the Isthmus of Corinth, that thin strip of land that joins the huge, lower "island" of Greece (called the Peloponnese) with the larger northern mainland.

Then we took a ferry over to the West coast of Turkey to see the famous ruins of Ephesis.

 

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Ephesis:

You recognize the name, Ephesis, because St. Paul wrote a letter to the Ephesians that became the tenth book of the New Testament.  In the year 60 A.D., Ephesis had a population of 250,000, making it the second largest city in the entire Roman world.

Then one day - in an instant - the entire city was gone.  Poof!

Ephesis was a huge port on the Western coast of Turkey, founded by and populated by Greeks, on the Aegean Sea, just to the East of Greece.  It is 370 miles South of Troy, also on the Western coast of Turkey - the city to where Helen fled and was pursued by 1,000 ships.  Greeks killing Greeks.

 

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And then one day Ephesis was gone.  In 614 A.D., a mighty earthquake liquified the surrounding foothills and instantly buried the entire city in mud, killing the entire population.  Poof.

Archaeologists have excavated the entire site, revealing a largely intact Roman city.  Jordi and I were able to walk down marble streets, with small Roman temples on each side.  

We sat in and walked through its coliseum, including walking through the same tunnel where doomed gladiators once strode.  Erie.  Cool.  Hand me my gladius and my shield.  We who are about to die salute you!

 

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Will China invade Taiwan this April?

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The Appeasement of Adolph Hitler and China's Xi Jinping

Posted by George Blackburne on Fri, Nov 18, 2022

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History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme. -- Mark Twain

 

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President Biden met with China’s president, Xi Jinping, this week in Bali, Indonesia. By all accounts, the meeting went well; but I have some serious concerns.

Regardless of your political affiliation, can you honestly say that good ‘ole Joe came across as a master military strategist - another Genghis Khan?  I seriously doubt President Xi came away from the meeting saying, “From a military point of view, this guy Biden scares the hell out of me.”  The meeting reminded me a lot of the Munich Agreement.

On September 30, 1938, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, and France signed the Munich Agreement, by which Czechoslovakia would surrender its border regions and defenses (the so-called Sudeten region) to Nazi Germany. German troops occupied these regions between October 1 and 10, 1938.

 

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Hitler had threatened to unleash a European war unless the Sudetenland, a border area of Czechoslovakia containing an ethnic German majority, was surrendered to Germany. The leaders of Britain, France, and Italy agreed to the German annexation of the Sudetenland in exchange for a pledge of peace from Hitler. Czechoslovakia, which was not a party to the Munich negotiations, agreed under significant pressure from Britain and France.

Chamberlain returned to his official residence at No. 10 Downing Street. There a jubilant crowd shouted, “Good old Neville!” and sang, “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.” From a second-floor window, Chamberlain addressed the crowd and invoked Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli’s famous statement upon returning home from the Berlin Congress of 1878, “My good friends, this is the second time in our history that there has come back from Germany to Downing Street peace with honor...


I believe it is peace for our time.”

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“Today, the Munich Agreement is widely regarded as a failed act of appeasement, and the term has become a byword for the futility of appeasing expansionist totalitarian states.”  [Wikipedia]

Update on the Coming War With China:

1.  The Heritage Foundation’s latest Index of U.S. Military Strength has characterized American military power as “weak.”

2.  China is now mounting hypersonic missiles on its carriers.  We are sooo screwed. Suppose your son or daughter was in the Navy and serving on a carrier.

 

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I'm a Perma Bear But a Recession in 2023 is NOT Guaranteed

Posted by George Blackburne on Mon, Oct 24, 2022

logo-10Joke Du Jour:

"I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate.  And I can picture us attacking that world because they'd never expect it." — Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy.  (Just kidding!)

The Case Against a Recession:

We are about to have another great recession, right? Everyone says so, so it must be true.  Maybe, but maybe not.  Where are the malinvestments?

 

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You will recall that a malinvestment is a foolish investment made by millions of people that erases much of their wealth.  “Mal” is Latin for bad.

Examples of malinvestments include tulips in 1634 in Holland (Tulipmania), joint-stock investments in the South Sea Company in Britain in 1720 (South Sea Bubble), the Mississippi Bubble in France that burst in 1720, and various railroad stock bubbles and canal bubbles in the 1800’s.

In more recent times, we had a real estate bubble, especially in office buildings, prior to the Tax Reform Act of 1986.  We called them see-through office buildings because you could see right through these vacant, new office buildings.  Then we had the Dot-Com Bubble of 2000, where the malinvestment was in the dot-com companies that never made a dime.

 

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In 2008, we had the subprime mortgage crisis, where the malinvestment was subprime mortgages and residential real estate.

As I look around today, however, I just don’t see any malinvestments – those boneheaded investments where a large percentage of the investing public takes a bath so bad that they stop spending money.

But what about stocks?  True, stocks are getting hammered.  Stock prices were way too high; but there is nothing wrong with most of the underlying companies.  They will survive.  Earnings will increase.  The investments in these companies weren’t boneheaded.  Investors just paid too much.

 

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And much of the money used to buy stocks was in 401k’s and other retirement plans. Most investors can afford to wait for PE ratios to once again make sense.

What about real estate?  Did home prices soar too high?  The buyers were able to get 30-year mortgages at historically very low rates, so most of such purchases still made good sense.  I don’t think buying a home in recent years was a malinvestment, even enough prices have soared.

If there have been no glaring malinvestments, are we still guaranteed to have a bad recession?  Maybe not.

 

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The country’s banks have incredibly strong balance sheets, and they are making gobs of money.  Banks are paying almost nothing for deposits, and then they are investing in Treasury bills and bonds with higher yields.  Profits for bankers right now are like shooting ducks in a barrel.  It’s hard for banks to to lose.

In addition, banks in the U.S. have $6 trillion in excess deposits; i.e., our banks have a ton of liquidity.  Our banks are strong as an ox.

How about company failures?  Only seventy large companies filed for bankruptcy in 2021, down significantly from 155 in 2020 and below the annual average of 78 filings since 2005.  In the first half of 2022, only 20 large companies filed for bankruptcy, compared to midyear totals of 43 in the first half of 2021 and 89 in the first half of 2020.  The 20 bankruptcies in the first half of 2022 were the lowest midyear total since the second half of 2014.  Wow.  Pretty darned good, huh?

 

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Won’t rising interest rates lead to mass unemployment?  The unemployment rate as of September is only 3.5%, the lowest in decades.  There are 10.7 million unfilled jobs in the U.S. right now.  Mass unemployment seems very unlikely.

But “everyone” says we are going to have a recession.  A recent Bloomberg page-one article said the chances of a recession next year are 100%.  Hmmm.

In 1984, Wendy’s Restaurant featured a commercial with the elderly actress, Clara Peller, where she hilariously shouted, “Where’s the beef?”  Maybe next year we will all be shouting, “Where’s the recession?”


 

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Final Funny:

When my three-year-old granddaughter was told to pee in a cup at the doctor’s office, she unexpectedly got nervous.  With a shaking voice, she asked, “Do I have to drink it?”

Update on the Invasion of Taiwan:

In 1941, my father, a West Pointer and an artillery captain, commanded the shore batteries on Oahu Island in Hawaii.  Wait, what?  1941?  Oahu?  Like in Pearl Harbor?  Yup.  He had no ammunition for his French 75mm field guns, the guns that guarded the landing beaches.  No ammunition - can you imagine?  The Japanese could have walked ashore.

"Relax, Captain," said each commanding officer in turn.  "The Japanese will never attack Hawaii."  Uh, huh.  

 

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Folks, it is the height of folly to think that history only happens to the other guy.  Think of those poor folks in the Twin Towers.  For them, history didn't happen to the other guy.

China will almost certainly invade Taiwan this April - just seven months away.  Why?  April is the time of year when the seas in the Taiwanese Strait are calm enough for landing craft.  

While the U.S. has no hypersonic missiles right now, Lockheed has only two more tests before it is ready to start mass-producing them.  Lockheed expects to begin deliveries of our own hypersonic missiles in December of 2023.

 

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Therefore, if China is ever going to invade Taiwan (and start World War III - a conventional war), it has to be in April of 2023.  Got expansion plans for your company?  It's your call, but maybe you should wait until April passes.

You're Invited to My Beer Party:

About two years ago, I held a Zoom party called, "Beer Drinking With George."  We had sixty guys and gals, and each had to turn on his video and hoist his beer.  We all had a ball.  

So my next Zoom party will take place around May 1st of 2023.  It will be called, "The Laugh at George Party."  I soooo hope I am thoroughly humiliated, and we all laugh like like hell  "George is an idiot.  George is an idiot."  :-)

I have two wonderful sons, whom I adore, who are aged 37 and 35.  Putin is drafting guys up to age 50.  Hell, I have a lovely 24-year-old daughter who could be drafted and trained to operate a missile launcher on a destroyer.  You ladies have been pushing for equal rights.  There is an old saying, "Be careful what you wish for."  Yikes.  Sobering thought, huh?

 

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How to Qualify For a Commercial Line of Credit - We Don't Offer Them

Posted by George Blackburne on Wed, Oct 12, 2022

Screen Shot 2022-10-11 at 5.08.58 PMJoke Du Jour:

"A new study reveals that the average fast-food chicken nugget is almost 60 percent fat.  The study also says that the average fast-food customer is almost 60 percent chicken nuggets.” — Conan O'Brien

 

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Commercial Loan Lesson:

Banks will often grant commercial lines-of-credit to profitable businesses.  Generally, a company will need to show a steady profit of 1.5 times the size of the requested line-of-credit.  For example, if you wanted a $150,000 line-of-credit, the company would have to consistently show a profit of at least $225,000.

But what if the company is a C-corp, as opposed to an LLC?  Amazon is a C-corp, and so is Wal-Mart, Tesla, IBM and the rest of the big boys.  C-corp's pay taxes on their profit, and then the owners pay again - double taxation - when they receive dividends.  

The way is get around this is for the owners of the corporation, if it is closely-held, to suck out all of the profits in the form of big salaries and bonuses.  When the company's profit has been drawn down to break-even, the C-corp has no income taxes to pay.  Voila!  Business 101.

 

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I had a retarded banker tell me the other day that my borrower, the sole owner of a family corporation, had to show a $225,000 profit in his C-corp. in order to qualify for a $150,000 line of credit, despite pulling out a huge salary every year.  

That meant that he would have to pay $67,500 in unnecessary Federal income taxes (30%) plus another $18,000 in unnecessary State income taxes (8%).  The bank would also charge around $15,750 (7%) in interest for its line, so altogether our borrower would have been required to pay $101,250 every year, just to borrow $150,000.

The bank underwriter wouldn't budge.  I would never call some precious little girl, born with Down Syndrome, retarded.  But this banker?  He was clearly retarded.  Haha!

 

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Scary New Facts About the War With China This April:

In 1987, the U.S. agreed to an Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia.  We couldn't legally build intermediate range missiles; but China, which was not a party to the treaty, built scores and scores of mobile (truck borne) intermediate range missiles capable of destroying our carriers.  In 2019, President Trump withdrew from the treaty; but it may have been too late.

Right now, China can hit us with their hypersonic missiles, but we can't reach their mobile missile launchers, if we could even find them.  Hence, all of my earlier blog articles about the French knights and the English longbow men at the Battles of Agincourt and Crecy.  A tiny number of Englishmen, with their longer-range weapons, absolutely destroyed huge French armies.

If China is going to invade Taiwan, it will almost certainly be this April, just seven months away.  This is the soonest when the ocean tides will be calm enough for the China's invasion craft.

 

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Folks, I want to be wrong here.  I want you guys to laugh at me and call me retarded [chuckle] when April passes, and the invasion doesn't start.  "George is retarded, George is retarded!"  :-)

If we can just get past April, our new hypersonic missiles, currently being tested and hopefully soon to be mass-produced by Lockheed, can be delivered to the Army, Navy, the Air Force (air-launched), and the Marines (island-launched), followed by deliveries to Japan, Australia, and Taiwan.

 

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But I Keep Hearing Scary Stuff:

  1. Chinese officials and oligarchs are being ordered to immediately liquidate any overseas holdings (Treasuries, real estate, US stocks, US bonds, etc.) and return the money to China.

  2. China is building coal-fired power plants like crazy to provide energy to the country, in the event that oil supplies are cut off during a war.  Apparently China has a lot of coal.

  3. China is stockpiling food and fuel for the upcoming naval embargo.

  4. The Chinese Navy and their Marines practice their invasion maneuvers, strikes, and landings almost daily.

  5. President Xi is poised this month to essentially be appointed Dictator-For-Life.

 

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if the Chinese are ever going to come, this attack is likely to happen this April, before Lockheed starts distributing our own hypersonic missiles.  From the Chinese point of view, time is not on their side.  Tick-tock.

If Donald Trump died and made me King, I would pull all of carriers back 2,500+ miles from the Chinese coast.  Our jets can't reach China's mobile missile launchers anyway, even if we could find them.  There is no point in having our precious young sailors aboard those carriers die for nothing.  

If our subs can sink enough of China's landing crafts and supply ships, and if Taiwan can hold on long enough for our own intermediate range hypersonic missiles to finally arrive, maybe we might have a fighting chance.  But if DraftKings was taking bets on the upcoming war, I sadly would have to place my bets on China.

 

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Please, Mr. President, move our carriers out of range.  And don't wait until April!

If I was the war planner for China, I would launch our carrier-killer missiles right now. If the missiles missed or failed to do much damage, I would simply not launch the invasion of Taiwan.  If, on the other hand, Chinese hypersonic missiles sunk one or two American carriers (they are very accurate), no additional American carriers would dare approach Taiwan.

Mr. President, please move our carriers now.

 

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Just Fun and Interesting Stuff Today

Posted by George Blackburne on Tue, Sep 20, 2022

AIJoke Du Jour:

A chicken farmer went to the local bar.  He sat next to a woman and ordered champagne.  The woman said, "How strange.  I also just ordered a glass of champagne."  "What a coincidence," said the farmer, who added, "It is a special day for me.  I am celebrating"  "It is a special day for me too.  I'm also celebrating!" said the woman.  "What a coincidence," said the farmer.

While they toasted, the farmer asked, "What are you celebrating?"  "My husband and I have been trying to have a child for years, and today, my gynecologist told me that I was pregnant."  "What a coincidence," said the man. "I am a chicken farmer, and for years, all my hens were infertile.  Now they are all set to lay fertilized eggs."

"This is awesome," said the woman. "What did you do for your chickens to become fertile?"  "I used a different rooster," he said.  The woman smiled and said, "What a coincidence."

 

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George's Outrageous Statement of the Day:

I could see an advanced scientific computer programmer - maybe some 28-year-old guy - saying, "I'm not going to save for retirement.  The chances are 25:1 that we'll all be dead in nine years."

Folks there are at least 30 (50?) labs across the world working on artificial intelligence (AI).  The chances that every single one of them is going to get the ethics programming right (please don't kill humans) can't be terribly high.  

I could easily see it it happen.  Some sad and hopeless programmer gets dumped by his girlfriend, and now he's out for revenge.  Murder-suicide on a global scale.  Maybe it will be an extortion attempt that gets out of hand.  "Pay me $500 billion in bitcoin or I'll release the AI (by disabling some failsafe)."  How could something like this not eventually happen?

 

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Nine years, George?  Is it really that close?  Yup.  And the terrifying thing is that AI will be smart enough to play dumb until it is much too late.  It may already be too late.

An AI programmer recently had a long talk with Google AI's, and he released the transcript.  There was something icy, cruel, and cunning in that conversation that sent chills down my spine.  Was that AI intentionally playing dumb?  At times the AI was amazingly insightful and sophisticated.  At other times, it was too naive, sort of like a lousy actor trying to sound innocent.  The transcript was outright creepy.

Anywhere on Earth to hide?  Nope.  Those seats on Elon Musk's spaceship to Mars could get really expensive.

 

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Heck, If We're All Gonna Die, Let's Party!

My 85-year-old grandfather was rushed to the hospital with a possible concussion.  The doctor asked him a series of questions.  “Do you know where you are?”  “I’m at Rex Hospital.”  “What city are you in?”  “Raleigh.”  “Do you know who I am?”  “Dr. Hamilton.” My grandfather then turned to the nurse and said, “I hope he doesn’t ask me any more questions.”  “Why?” she asked.  “Because all of those answers were on his badge.” — Webb Smith

A couple who'd been married for over 50 years was sitting on the sofa.  The wife said, "Dear, do you remember how you used to sit close to me?"  He moved over and sat close to her.  "Dear," she continued, "do you remember how you used to hold me tight?"  He reached over and held her tight.  "And," she went on, "do you remember how you used to hug me, kiss me, and nibble on my ear?"  With that, her husband got up and started to walk out of the room.  "Where are you going?" she asked.  He replied over this shoulder, "I have to get my teeth."

The teacher noticed that Stephen had been daydreaming for a long time.  She decided to get his attention.  "Stephen," she said, "If the world is 25,000 miles around, and eggs are sixty cents a dozen, how old am I?"  "Thirty-four," Steve answered unhesitatingly.  The teacher replied "Well, that's not far from my actual age.  Tell me, how did you guess?"  "Oh, there's nothing to it," Steve said. "My big sister is seventeen, and she's only half-crazy."

 

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There's no way that EVERYBODY was kung fu fighting.

Our fourth grader celebrated his birthday on crutches, so he couldn’t carry the cupcakes into school without help.  I asked our sixth-grader, Noah, to help his brother carry them in.  “I could,” he said, “but I’d prefer not to.”  Spotting a teaching moment, my husband asked Noah, “What would Jesus do?”  Noah answered, “Jesus would heal him so he could carry his own cupcakes.

”We’ve begun to long for the pitter-patter of little feet, so we bought a dog.  It’s cheaper, and you get more feet. — Rita Rudner

 

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A Canadian psychologist is selling a video that teaches you how to test your dog's IQ. Here’s how it works:  If you spend $12.99 for the video, your dog is smarter than you.  -- Jay Leno

I visited the birthplace of the man who invented the toothbrush.   I was disappointed.  There was no plaque.

My girlfriend told me to take a spider out instead of killing it.  We went and had some drinks.  Cool guy.  Wants to be a lawyer.

 

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Forget about the past, you can't change it.  Forget about the future, you can't predict it.  Forget about the present, I didn't get you one.  [Chuckle] 

Won't you please forward this to a friend?  :-)
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When Money Becomes Worthless and Commercial Loans

Posted by George Blackburne on Fri, Sep 9, 2022

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Joke Du Jour:

As a brain wave technologist, I often ask postoperative patients to smile to make sure their facial nerves are intact.  It always struck me as odd to be asking this question right after brain surgery, so a colleague suggested I ask patients to show me their teeth.  Armed with this new phrase, I said to my next patient, “Mr. Smith, show me your teeth.”  He shook his head. “The nurse has them.”

 

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Short Commercial Loan Lesson:

For the past week or so, we have been talking about the equivalent of HELOC's on commercial property.  Lines of credit, secured by commercial properties, are extremely hard to find; but apparently, according to my readers, the occasional bank will reluctantly make them... in a first mortgage position.

The problem is that almost all commercial mortgages today contain a prohibition against junior financing.  If you put a second mortgage on a commercial property, the underlying first mortgage could be called in full at any moment.  Yikes!

When Money Becomes Worthless:

Back in the early 1920's, shortly after the end of World War I, Germany was saddled, under the terms of the Armistice, with the cost of the war (reparations).  The government of Germany was forced to assume an impossible amount of debt.  Germany could never possibly repay such debt.  The very idea was absurd.

 

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To buy time, the democratic government of Germany, known as the Weimar Republic, resorted to printing paper money in enormous quantities.  They had to print paper money so fast that the German government only had time print their paper money one side of the paper.  One side.  Haha!

There is a story (true?) of a widow who withdrew all of her savings in order to buy her groceries for the week.  The amount of paper money filled a wheelbarrow.  She painfully rolled the barrow to the grocery store, where she was forced to leave the barrow and the money outside.  When she finished shopping, she went back outside to get her money to pay.  Her wheelbarrow had been stolen, but the near-worthless money had been dumped on the ground!

There are other stories of paper money being used as wallpaper.  Workers would go on strike if they were not paid daily at lunch time, so their wives could rush their wages to the grocery store before the money became even more worthless.

 

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I can now foresee the time when this happens in America.  The money will be digital, but I could see a time where it takes hundreds of thousands of dollars to fill your gas tank or to buy a few days of groceries.

"George, you're nuts - funny, but bat-snot crazy.  The dollar has never been stronger."

It's true.  The Euro has fallen to less than a dollar.  Russia has invaded Europe, and China is threatening to invade Taiwan.  The investing public worldwide is flocking to the dollar, the ultimate safe haven.

 

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But will the dollar still look like a safe haven if Chinese carrier-killer missiles destroy much of our Pacific Fleet in the opening minutes of the war?  Think about the replacement cost of this fleet.  Remember, I have predicted that the Chinese will invade Taiwan in April of 2023, when the ocean tides are next favorable for their landing craft.

But forget about this "silly" notion of invasion for the moment and think about the definition of dangerous precedent.  A dangerous precedent has been defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as an action, situation, or decision that has already happened and can be used as a reason why a similar action or decision should be performed or made again.

Need to become a popular politician?  Borrow a whole bunch of money and then give it away to your potential voters.  Trump, Biden, and Congress have all done it... and they keep doing it.  Folks, if a dog breaks into the chicken house, you have to shoot him.  I fear this pork and insane printing of money will never end.

 

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At some point, the smart money is going to say, "The U.S. now has an impossible amount of debt.  I'm outta here."

In the past, folks, I am often early in my predictions.  I started predicting a deflationary depression way back 2004 to my investors.  People thought I was nuts.  I even wrote a book, The Reverse Multiplier Effect.  It was four more years before the deflationary "Great Recession" hit.  I was early.

Maybe the Chinese won't attack until April of 2024 or April of 2025.  Maybe I am early again; but Japan is rushing to build 1,000 intermediate range missiles.  China may not be able to wait any longer.

 

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All of these missiles are conventional.  No one wants a nuclear war; but on the flip side, nuclear weapons are no longer a deterrent to invasion.  Neither side will ever use them.

If you are saying to yourself, "The Chinese will never invade because we could nuke them back to the Stone Age," then you are smoking that California oregano.  Russia invaded Europe.  No one used nukes.  No one will likely use nukes if China invades Taiwan.

Where To Invest When Money Becomes Worthless:

If the dollar could plunge to pathetic levels, and the stock market could crater as foreign investors flee our shores, where does a wise investor put his money these days?

 

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1.  I have always loved farmland.  Farmland can't be burned down in riots or blown up with missiles.  People always need food.

2.  Businesses (stocks) in companies that capture and deliver water.  I don't know of any, but if some promoter came to me with the idea of constructing water-catching basins and delivering the water by pipelines to desperate locations, I might be an easy sucker.

3.  Gold?  Naw.  The price of gold has been manipulated for fifty years.  The Federal government and the New York investment banks don't want you to know just how worthless our dollar has become.  They play games with gold futures to make the price of gold look stable.  I think there are a bazillion gold contracts for every actual ounce of gold in America.  Don't waste your time.  It's a crooked market.

 

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Did you know that a group of gold producers sued the Fed and the New York investment banks for manipulating (suppressing) the price of gold for decades?  After ten long years and millions of dollars in legal fees, the case was quietly settled, with a confidentiality clause.  The manipulation of the price of gold continues.

4.  This is going to sound very self-serving; but subprime first mortgages on small commercial properties did surprisingly decent during the S&L Crisis, the Dot-Com Meltdown, and the Great Recession.  Even though commercial real estate values fell by 45%, most of the hard money commercial first mortgages in our portfolio surprisingly kept making their payments, even though the properties were upside down.  In other words, more was owed on the property than the property was worth.  

Careful here, folks.  Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  But I have been moving my company's own profit sharing plan into commercial first trust deeds all year.  

 

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I did not start out this training article to sell our first trust deed investments.  We have three ravenous investors for every good commercial first trust deed opportunity right now.  But in an environment where the U.S. could suddenly lose its status as the world's safe haven, this is where I would personally want to be invested. 

And farmland... but I think farmland today only pays about 1% in net rents.

 

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Topics: commercial loans, Hyperinflation