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Month: May 2009

Number 86

Number 86 24 May 2009 A Meditation On Investment The economy, alas. The outlook is gloomy, the present is a disaster (which is not as bad as a catastrophe), and the recent past provides multiple examples of recklessness, stupidity, corruption and incompetence. How jolly. It is, therefore, time to consider the basics and try to regain a grip on reality. First, investing. There are two broad categories of investors: fundamentalists and technicians. Let us begin with the fundies. These investors want to know all about the history and organization and strategies and plans of the company whose stock they might buy. They look at the good/service the company provides, consider its place in the market, investigate the tax and debt history of the company, try to determine the quality of management and reliability of labor at the company’s location, estimate consumer reaction to the company’s offerings, and so on. They believe that a close study of the company will allow the investor to determine how much the stock will pay in dividends in the future. The technicians look at how the stock is trading, and when they see rising prices supported by rising volume, they buy. Their motto: buy high, sell higher. When the stock price rises to the technician’s target, he sells and takes his profit. While fundies look at the basics of the company, techies look at...

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Number 85

Basic Truths And Imaginary Concepts Here is a graph that gets a cute introduction as what one might call “econo-porn.” The play on words is sort of clever, but the overall concept is not. That’s because it is not possible to predict anything from a graph. Sure, people do it all the time, pointing to peaks and troughs and especially to trends — but there is no such thing as a trend. And that takes some explaining. The concept of the trend is our abstraction; it’s a pattern that we literally invent. Trends are not “out there” in the real world, behaving according to a set of rules that we have figured out. They are ideas, fantasies, that we impose on the facts. We often talk as if these trends had a life of their own. Stocks will continue to rise because they have been rising for a while, or temperatures in the Antarctic will fall until that trend exhausts itself. We look at the squiggly line on the chart and believe it tells us not only about past events, but about where the line will go next. Perhaps the fact that we connect the dots with lines predisposes us to see trends when we look at charts. Those lines are linkages, aren’t they? They imply that this datum is somehow tied to, related to, has something to do...

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Number 84

The Visionary Architects Of European Economic Recovery After The Second World War May Have Been At Apex Of The Nazi Schutzstaffel Germany recovered from WW II to become a pan-European economic success. Was it all a Nazi plot? A recent article in Britain’s Daily Mail outlines an intelligence report that interprets events as unfolding according to the plans of the SS. Germany and France were the drivers behind the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the precursor to the European Union. The ECSC was the first supranational organisation, established in April 1951 by six European states. It created a common market for coal and steel which it regulated. This set a vital precedent for the steady erosion of national sovereignty, a process that continues today. All this was allegedly planned before the war came to an end. If this interpretation of events is true, German National Socialism evolved spectacularly, adapting to the loss of the war by shedding the super-nationalistic facade the Nazis had promoted vigorously. That leads to a question that cannot be easily answered: if the Allies won the war, who won the peace? And it implies that behind the Nazi party itself was a brilliant vision of what the future of Germany could be — in a Europe not politically controlled by overt fascism. In that interpretation of events, Hitler turns out to have been a...

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Number 83

Number 83 13 May 2009 The Future Looks Like A Horror, And, Due To A Lack Of Sheer Intestinal Fortitude, There Seems To Be Nothing We Can Do About It The Penguin Post is not inclined to pessimism. The outlook here is generally that as bad as things get, or threaten to become, there are policies and strategies for coping. When the people running things fail us, this newsletter scolds and views with alarm, of course — but it never gives up hope that rascals will be replaced with good leaders and the cavalry will ride over the hill just in time. All that must now be set aside in favor of lugubrious, sickening pessimism. The facts are plain: Western Civilization is going into decline, and the process cannot be reversed. That’s a horrible thing to say, and those who say it are required to explain themselves fully. This newsletter will make a sincere effort to set out facts that are objective and verifiable; if readers discover errors, corrections will be welcomed, and published here. In November of 2003, the predecessor of The Penguin Post reproduced the following words written by Mark Steyn and published in The Spectator: 59 per cent of Europeans think Israel is the biggest threat to world peace….(in) the Netherlands, 74 per cent. … Given the rate of Islamic immigration to Europe, those anti-Israeli numbers...

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Number 82

The Anthropogenic Global Warming Cultists Shift Gears, Expecting That Will Fool A Public They Consider Stupid According to this article in the NYT, it’s time for the nuts in Al Gore’s cult to give up the term “global warming.” The agenda will be pushed using other names. You know, it’s like the Nazis calling their mass murder “the solution to the Jewish question,” or the Roman Church calling execution of heretics an “affair of faith.” It’s rank dishonesty based on the belief that people are morons. The cynical sophists advising the nutty cultists are telling them to… Drop discussions of carbon dioxide and bring up “moving away from the dirty fuels of the past.” Don’t confuse people with cap and trade; use terms like “cap and cash back” or “pollution reduction refund.” Of course they have to start ignoring carbon dioxide now — they have been lying about that chemical for years, and the truth is getting out. EcoAmerica has been conducting research for the last several years to find new ways to frame environmental issues and so build public support for climate change legislation and other initiatives. A summary of the group’s latest findings and recommendations was accidentally sent by e-mail to a number of news organizations by someone who sat in this week on a briefing intended for government officials and environmental leaders. So now “global warming”...

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