$10 mil

Ron hit and surpassed the $10 mil mark for the quarter, today, at precisely two-thirds in. Another half mil, and he'll have again doubled last quarter's take. His "crazy goal" of $12 mil for the entire quarter now seems modest and unambitious. He's already raised more so far this quarter than Guiliani, Romney, or Thompson raised in all of last quarter. And now comes news of another completely independent effort by people unencumbered by centralized "federal" control. These crazies want a BLIMP! Yea, a goddammed blimp. They set out with a goal to raise $350K to put the deal together, and their pledges are closing in on $500k. Regardless of Paul's outcome, I'll love to see these folks put it together. With this, the November 5th money bomb, and the coming December 16th Tea Party, the most impressive thing shaping up about this whole deal is the unprecedented independence and autonomy of this campaign and the true American spirit of those moving it -- with these aforementioned efforts, the thousands of creative and clever videos, the blogs, the meetups, and all that. If one were to quantify that in terms of dollars, I'm guessing that Paul has raised the most...

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Check a Load of This

Lindsey Buckingham, rockin' to Big Love just about as much as one can on acoustic, I'd say. It's fantastic and I hope you enjoy it. Trader Tim came up with that.

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The Best National Defense

There has never been a doubt in my mind that the best national defense is to make sure that everyone else -- friends and potential enemies -- have an important financial stake in your stability, success, and prosperity. When I learned of that purchase of a 5% stake in Citigroup for $7.5 billion the other day, I didn't for a second buy the rhetoric that it was a "bailout." Yea, Citi can use the cash, but it would have squeaked by anyway. If Citi was in no-shit trouble, shares would be trading under $5 and not in the 30s. Make no mistake: this was a fabulous investment and this chart has "buy; it's on sale" written all over it. Anything can happen, but I gotta call this a smart move with a very attractive risk/return profile. They're going to get 11% on the money, dividends, and should the stock make it back to the $55 level, a near doubling of their capital. Am I concerned with middle easterners of the Islamic faith owning huge stakes in American companies? Quite the contrary. I think it's no mystery that Great Britan, since the American Revolution, has been America's closest supporter. They own...

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Prescient Goldwater

The turn will come when we entrust the conduct of our affairs to the men who understand that their first duty as public officials is to divest themselves of the power that they have been given. It will come when Americans, in hundreds of communities throughout the nation, decide to put the man in office who is pledged to enforce the Constitution and restore the Republic. Who will proclaim in a campaign speech: 'I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel the old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is “needed” before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents’ “interests,” I shall reply that I was informed their main interest is liberty and that in...

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Cost Effective; Timely

You can be sure I'm not describing anything above the small-claims level of our court system. But I am describing a private, dispute resolution option. The National Arbitration Forum. Back when I came up with the name Provanta for my company, back in about 1999, that domain was already registered to some electric company as a brand name for one of the services they provided to commercial clients. So, I registered provantacorp.com, and provanta.biz later, when .biz came available (it seems to have never caught on, and that's a shame, in my view). I wasn't watching closely enough, and the electric company dropped the product, and let their domain expire around the end of last year. Now, had it been picked up by someone for an unrelated service I'd have just let it go, but I was tooling around a couple of months ago, and what do I find (that'll only go to that "debt help" site for another couple of weeks)? Some company in Korea registered the domain, and from the nature of the site clearly knew what they were going to do with it (poach business with my name). At any rate, the fee was about $1,300, took...

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Yowzer

Major indexes all up big; volatility indexes all down big. This is the first time we've seen two consecutive up days in a row on the S&P 500 since Oct 22 and 23. Yesterday was a gain of about 20 points, and today double that at 40 points, for a total of 60 points and a gain of 4.3% in two days. So if Monday's closing at 1407 holds -- almost exactly 10% off the 1565 closing high of 10/08; but possibly too "pat" -- I'd still expect to see the 1440-1450 range revisited, at a minimum, before resuming the march to new highs. People say that markets take the stairs up and the elevator (or window) down, but I can tell you also that the pace at which a market can "melt up" can be surprising, always counterintuitive, puzzling, frustrating. It's really the hardest thing to trade, short term; because you just can never fully believe in it. Whereas, it's easy to believe in a meltdown. If I was going to take the bear side, now, which I'm not, it would be a good time to short (sell into strength, buy on weakness), but with a tight stop. It...

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The Irony

Karen DeCoster beats me to something I had on my list. Yea, Warren Buffett is worried that not stealing a major portion of a person's estate from their chosen heirs (often forcing them to liquidate cherished or income-producing assets in order to pay taxes) might result in a plutocracy; you know, like you might have one of the top rich people in the country fly in from Omaha, or something, and try to use his wealth status to influence public policy that he himself is largely immune from, but which adversely effects large swaths of people of lesser wealth. Something like that.

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ProShares

Ever heard of them? By now, most people understand how mutual funds work. How about ETFs, or exchange traded funds? ETFs differ from mutual funds in that they can be traded throughout the day, and at least most of them are are index tracking, which is to say that shares of the underlying index (like the DOW, NASDAQ, S&P 500, etc.) are automatically traded in proportional lots to those buying and selling the fund itself, and so it matches the real-time action going on in the market for those same securities. There's no load, as with some mutual funds, and expenses are nil. Some of them have options contracts associated with them, such as SPY. Seeing that very few mutual funds (I think none) beat the S&P 500 over a 10-year span, a good buy & hold strategy is just to open an account and buy Spiders (SPY) regularly, and maybe even the Qs (QQQQ). Your performance will exactly match the S&P 500 or the NASDAQ 100, respectively. Now that tech stocks are showing signs of greater strength than the market at large, it might be a good idea to have some percentage in the Qs. ProShares is now up...

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Monetary Policy

This is a very compelling video mashup of Ron Paul and monetary policy, including lots of clips from CNBC and elsewhere. My guess is you'll probably find it worth the 10 minutes of your time it'll take. While I don't share Paul's view of coming doom to the extent he does, you can't evade reality forever. And, he's right about one thing: the core problem is not money creation through credit (in and of itself). The core problem is the spending (enabled, of course, by the credit, so it's true there's a big link). In the simplest terms I can think of, imagine the argument as to whether you ought to use credit cards, or not. Well, they enable you to live beyond your means, so in that sense, it's not responsible use in keeping with the reality of things. On the other hand, millions of small businesses have been created by entrepreneurs who had no source of capital other than credit cards. Yep, lots of 'em go bust, and my company has helped a lot of them get the mess cleaned up afterwards. My point is that credit, like many things, can be a fabulous resource when used properly....

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Equity Risk

Now article by Fortune's Shawn Tully is by far the most sensible article I've read in some time arguing that markets could come down substantially more from the 10% correction already in the works. I doubt it'll play out that way, because in my experience markets only do "the right thing" long term. In terms of months, and even a few years, they'll do any damn thing they want, no matter how little sense it makes. Still, it makes a lot more sense to me than any of the scare stories (subprime, dollar, oil, etc.). Ultimately, smart money sells off assets that under-perform as a function of the risk inherent in holding them. Money moves to other assets with acceptable risk/return. It's simple, and fundamental.

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Predicting the Future

I'll be dammed, but Jay Jardine found a sure way to do just that. He's Canadian, but I think Americans can do just as well. Eh, how about predictable? Seriously, how old do you think the person who wrote that is? I figure if they're old enough to use a thesaurus, they ought to be old enough to get over their belief in Santa Claus, the tooth fairy or other fantastic wish-fulfillment vehicles like the enchanted poverty relieving spigot of the federal treasury, but maybe not. Eh, how about surely not? He's speaking of Canada's federal government pledging (with other people's money) to eliminate child poverty by the year 2000. Yep, you guessed predicted it. It's still the same. See, you too can predict the future too.

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You Go, Judge

Via Rockwell, a must-see, by judge Andrew Napolitano (the only guy on Fox worth paying any attention to).

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Think Globally

I can't think of anyone not being pretty shocked, or at least amazed -- do I hear surprised? -- to take a close look and study of the chart and table to be found here. But wait! Before you do, can you guess the top three stock markets in 2007 in terms of percentage gain? (It's nice to see The People's Paradise of Venezuela 2nd to dead last in the entire world.)

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“Strange Days Indeed”

A clever little upbeat video, in spite of it being generally a parade of mostly contemptible fools & fuckers (with one notable exception).

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“We’ll Look at That”

You really only need to look at the first 35 seconds of this to get the point of this post. Feel free to watch the other three minutes, if you like. Perhaps you'll realize something, as I did, that I'd never thought about before. How come alcohol prohibition was accomplished through the very arduous process of amending the U.S. Constitution (later repealling it, through the same arduous process)? Ron Paul points out: because they [rightly] understood there was no authority under the Constitution to ban it. Obvious, I suppose, but I'd never considered that. Accordingly, it kind of sheds light on the constitutionality of all current federal drug laws that are sending people to prison. Anyway, in contrast to how Paul deals with the medical marijuana issue -- direct and forthright, without equivocation -- see how Hillary and Romney deal with it. "We'll look at that." What slime; both of them. Can you see it? It's unmistakable. First, they enthusiastically approach, with their false empathy and compassion. It's a great opportunity to score points, eh? Then, once they understand that the guy is merely asking to be left alone by the feds, so he can take medicine five doctors have...

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Compare and Contrast

Fox's Neil Cavuto aggressively interviewing Ron Paul on June 26, 2007. (Funniest part: Cavuto asks Paul how the building he was standing in -- the one housing the congress and senate -- could have been built without the IRS and income taxes. Paul points out is was built prior to 1913. Ha!) This is Cavuto interviewing Paul five months last, on Nov 23rd (Part 1; Part 2). I've never seen Cavuto so gentle. Via Rockwell. Should lightening strike in the same place twice, and Black Swans begin falling from the sky to coincide with Paul getting the nomination, you'll see pro-war republican right and left suddenly becoming peace nicks. You can count on it.

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On SWAT Raids

I see two arguments in support of this kind of thing, both from the cops and their choirs: 1. Ensure safety of officers. 2. Prevent the destruction of evidence. To the first, why should cops be entitled to safety that goes beyond their own exercise of reason, civility, and restraint? Put another way, I suspect that one reason for all of the "wrong door" raids is because they are afforded the luxury of overwhelming force -- force sufficient to brutalize their way out of the just consequences of their own careless (often capricious or even sadistic) acts. Bluntly: cops ought to be shot when they mistakenly crash through the doors of innocent people who've done no harm (the sorting out should come later). They just ought to be, just as anyone ought to be. To exempt cops, because they are cops, completely obviates home defense, because it sets an impossible standard. The burden is henceforth upon you to first determine that any intruder is not a cop. The second requires acceptance of a collectivist, socialist premise whereby heretofore only imagined, speculated, or alleged "evidence" takes on a value greater than that of the lives and safety of suspects or accused....

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James Madison

Worth a look. Now, do you ever wonder how it is that you can often read such things and find them to be so prescient, today? Do you understand why that is? Well, for one, it's because they understood practical politics; they understood human propensity to be driven by fear above all else; and they understood human propensity to seek authority ("easy answers") outside of its own capacity to reason. They also understood that the only defense against such civilization decline was adherence to a set of principles. Unfortunately, they didn't go far enough (though they went as far as they could, in the context of an authoritarian state -- which is indeed what they established). The lesson to take away from that is there's simply no way to establish an ultimately all-powerful institution ("checks & balances" only slow things down) like a state, along with its constitution that, regardless of its seeming "reasonable" nature, is still an imposition upon men. In the end, the core differences between the state they established and the state we have today is primarily degree, not principle. In terms of the logic of human nature applied to political power, everything has marched along pretty...

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“My country ’tis of thee…”

...sweet land of liberty...Where 2,000 juveniles -- juveniles; people who are supposed to be stupid, so's they can learn the difference -- are serving life sentences without possibility of parole. This compares to 12: in the rest of the world combined. ...Of thee I sing.

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