Saturday, November 17, 2012

Don Coxe – Nassim Taleb, Black Swans & Financial Collapse / November 16, 2012
Today 40-year veteran Don Coxe told King World News, “Historians 1,000 years from now will write about this time period.”  Coxe, who is Global Strategy Advisor to BMO ($538 billion in assets), spoke with King World News about a fascinating encounter with Nassim Taleb, and the incredible danger investors face today.

Here is what Coxe had to say:  “I’d like to tell you a story about the summer of 2007.  I was speaking at a conference for the BMO Financial Group out in California, and the other speaker was Nassim Taleb.  His book had only come out a few months before (titled), ‘The Black Swan,’ which of course I read.”
Don Coxe continues:

“But by the time he was at the conference he was a big name indeed.  We had a good turnout and I spoke first.  I spoke on the theme of the commodity boom.  Then he spoke.  But in between we had about a 20 minute break, and he was talking with me quite excitedly about the situation of derivatives in the banking system.”

He said, ‘The whole system will crash within a year.’….

15 Reasons America's Retirement Crisis Is Even Worse Than You Think

We are supposed to look forward to our golden years, right? Do a little traveling, play with the grand kids, host dominoes nights. Yet, increasingly, that isn't what some Americans are experiencing. What's going on?

In American society, our expectations have risen over the decades, and we expect to command enough money to live as well as during our working years. But as pensions go away and interest rates drop, reality is changing. So what has happened to our retirement plans -- or lack of them?

A new study brings to light 15 frightening facts about how swiftly the U.S. retirement scenario is changing. Dwindling saving patterns seem to be sweeping away the image of the relaxing "golden years" and replacing them with a harsh reality.

[InvestingAnswers Feature: 7 Little-Known Reasons Your Retirement Calculation Is Dangerously Wrong]

In earlier years, no one envisioned working past 65. Now it's becoming quite common. And when prospects and savings don't work out, what remains are high hopes of finding work in later years, even if the hopes are unrealistic.

The new information begs the question, what lifestyle will America's elderly have in 20 or 30 years?  (more)

Art Cashin – Get Ready For Currency Wars & Ground Wars /
Today 50-year veteran Art Cashin warned King World News that “we are on the verge of a major currency war.”  He also cautioned, “… central banks all around the world beginning to play with fire.”  Cashin, who is Director of Floor Operations for UBS ($612 billion under management), also warned we are now in danger of the possibility of ground wars.

Here is what Cashin had to say: “Back in late October, the Israelis attacked a warehouse or control station in the Sudan.  It was believed that Iran may have sent intermediate-range missiles there, hoping to get them shipped into Gaza.  So we may now be facing that Hamas or one of its rivals (has these missiles), but whoever has these missiles may be getting set to use them or lose them if the Israelis are coming in.”

Art Cashin continues:

“They (the Israelis) have just mobilized another 75,000 men.  If the Israelis are coming in, they (Hamas) will want to use those intermediate-range missiles.  We just had two missiles fall just short of Jerusalem today.  So it’s obvious the range is expanding.

But what I worry about most in that area is that Mr. Morsi (President) of Egypt does not have a full-blown or stable government.  That could lead to precipitous or irrational moves.  So far there have not been definitive signs of anything like troop movements in Egypt, but that is another fear that I think will lurk in the back of many minds going into the weekend.”

Art Cashin has been warning for some time now that this type of conflict was going to begin to take place.  He has been escalating those warnings recently.  When asked on a scale of 1 to 5 (five being the highest) where he rates the danger now in the Middle-East, Cashin responded, “Probably 3.5 headed to a 4.”

Will Gold/Silver Mining Shares Ever Payoff?

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I am a die hard Gold and Silver the core. If you are reading this article I assume that you are too and at some point over the past 10 years you have bought gold/silver mining shares after analyzing the markets and determining that metal "in the ground" is sold for a fraction of the price as metal above ground. A common understanding is that mining shares are "leveraged to the price of the metal" such that when the prices of gold and/or silver rise the mining shares should rise exponentially.

Being the brilliant investor that you are and having figured out that governments and bullion banks around the world are illegally manipulating the prices lower, the added leverage gained from owning the mining shares will make you rich beyond your wildest dreams when the manipulation ends! The years of people laughing at you for being a rabid gold bug will finally pay off and YOU will be the one laughing all the way to the bank. Well, maybe not to a BANK, but somewhere you can store your winnings and live the rest of your days in luxury!

I too was in your camp and rode the mining share roller coaster for a very long time taking the wins and losses in stride knowing that at some point I would "cash in". All that changed about 2 years ago when I realized I was underestimating the magnitude of what gold and silver manipulation means and the scenarios that may play out as the manipulation ends.

First of all I'd like to tell you that I don't have all the answers for you, but I do have a deep understanding of the Gold/Silver manipulation issues and my current stance on the mining shares was developed by extrapolating different scenarios mixed with some common sense.

The question is... "Will mining shares payoff more than physical metal when the manipulation ends?" My answer is "maybe" but only if the fiat monetary system stays intact. If the coming monetary crash is as serious as I think it will be, I don't see mining shares ever paying off! Don't misunderstand what I'm saying here. I know that mining companies hold MASSIVE wealth in the ground. THAT'S THE PROBLEM! It's not that the company's reserves aren't valuable...IT'S THAT THEY'RE TOO VALUABLE!  (more)

The Economy Is Going To Implode

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Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

GoldSeek Radio’s Chris Waltzek talks to PETER ELIADES – Nov 15, 2012

12 Unconventional Habits of Highly Productive People

I’ve always been someone driven to excel and make the most out of this wild ride called life.
So when I read Tim Ferriss’ book The 4-Hour Workweek, a new world of possibilities opened up to me.  After discovering his personal productivity tips, I knew the way I worked was never going to be the same.
Over the ensuing 18 months I diligently applied Ferriss’ strategies, from utilizing Parkinson’s Law to following the 80/20 Principle, to eliminating distractions and batching tasks.  And I saw solid results.
But always looking to optimize, I decided to take it a step further.  I decided to see if I could “out-Tim Ferriss” Tim Ferriss.
So I spent some additional time studying the habits of other successful people – reading their books, blogs, etc. to see what was working for them.  And then I started experimenting with a variety of these strategies also to see just how productive I could get.
Some of my experiments failed, but many were resounding successes.  Today, I want to share 12 unconventional productivity strategies that worked well for me.  As I built habits around each of them, my daily efforts became noticeably more efficient.  And I’m confident they can do the same for you.

1.  Meditate

By now I’m sure you’ve heard about all the wonderful health and cognitive benefits meditation offers.  But did you know Stanford University researchers consider it the #1 way to boost willpower?  Regular meditation increases grey matter in the prefrontal cortex, which governs decision-making.  Over time, you’ll greatly improve your ability to avoid distractions and stay focused on the task at hand.  To learn how to start meditating, check out this article.

2.  Optimize Your Morning Ritual

How you spend your first waking hour sets the tone for the rest of your day.  In his program Get the Edge, peak performance coach Tony Robbins strongly encourages taking at least 15 minutes every morning to get your body and mind in an optimal state.  This can be done through meditation, visualization, physical activity, prayer, reading, practicing gratitude, yoga, journaling, or even taking a walk around the block.

3.  Visualize Your Ideal Day

It is common practice among elite athletes to visualize their performance before game-time.  Golf legend Jack Nicklaus once said, “I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp, in-focus picture of it in my mind.”  You can use the same strategy to increase your productivity.  First, get clear on what you want to accomplish during the day, then visualize yourself going through the different activities swiftly and efficiently.  Once you open your eyes, you’ll be ready to make your own day a masterful performance.

4.  Rest Before You’re Tired

One of the keys to optimal productivity is to stay mentally fresh through the day.  Productivity expert Tony Schwartz, author of the book The Power of Full Engagement, tells us, “Human beings are designed to pulse rhythmically between spending and renewing energy.  That’s how we operate at our best.”  In other words, a great way to avoid fatigue is to take one or two small breaks every hour.  I personally use the app Time Out which basically blocks me out of my computer for 10 minutes every 50 minutes.  By resting regularly, you’ll keep your energy up and get more done over the course of a day.

5.  Get Active During Your Breaks

What should you do to optimize your 10-minute break?  While it may be tempting to head straight to Facebook, that’s not your best bet.  What I’ve found to be optimal is 5 minutes of physical activity (50 jumping jacks, 20 push-ups and 20 squats) which increases blood flow to the brain, followed by 5 minutes of meditation that calms down the mind and helps you get clarity over what needs to get done next.

6.  Work with Intention

The Internet is a wonderful tool, but it’s also the greatest time-waster in history.  To avoid falling prey to its endless distractions, make sure that whenever you sit down at your computer, you are intentional about your work.  Get crystal clear on what you’re about to do and write it down.  Once that’s done, get straight to work.  Don’t waste 1 minute.  Even checking Facebook or your email once is bound to throw you off track.

7.  Unplug

In a world that’s constantly connected, we forget how taxing this is to our cognitive system.  Try to take 1 day a week to unplug and do a technology detox.  Put your computer aside and seek out nature, spend time with your loved ones, read a book, paint, journal, lay in a hammock, call a friend, volunteer, etc.  If you’re courageous, why not put your phone on airplane mode for a few hours too?  I promise, the next day, you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and refocused.

8.  Optimize Your Work Set-Up

When working on a laptop, it’s easy to get a very bad posture.  The laptop is too low relative to your eye level, which gets you to slouch or look down at an awkward angle.  This is not only bad for your neck and back, but it’s also detrimental to your productivity.  A good posture energizes us, while a bad posture makes us more lethargic.  Consider buying a laptop stand (with an external keyboard and mouse) or setting up a standing desk.  Check this video to see my own work set-up.

9.  Learn to Speed Read

Reading is an essential part of daily life, in both personal and professional environments.  Learning to speed-read is a great (and easier than you think) way to improve productivity, but it holds one caveat.  It’s really hard to do on a computer screen.  So instead, you can use a neat web application called Spreeder.  It allows you to paste the text into a box and it then flashes the words across your screen at the speed you choose.  It makes speed-reading on the computer almost effortless and is sure to save you time and energy.

10.  Be Grateful

In his excellent TED Talk The Secret to Happy Work, Shawn Anchor reveals that our brain performs up to 30% better when we’re feeling happy.  A simple way to boost your happiness level is to take a few seconds every hour to think about the things you’re grateful for.  This can be anything, from your health, to your access to food, the internet, your family, your friends, the beautiful weather, etc.  Really feel the gratitude and you’ll be both happier and more productive.

11.  Practice Optimal Breathing

Take a second to notice your breath right now.  It is deep and full, or short and shallow?  If you’re like the majority of people, it’s probably the latter.  When we’re working, it’s easy to get so caught up in what we do that we forget to breathe properly.  Taking a few deep mindful breaths regularly will help you relax, get present, and oxygenate your brain.

12.  Ask for Help

If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance you’re the type of person who takes pride in doing things all by yourself.  For the longest time, I did the same.  But recently, I’ve realized that asking for help not only makes my life a LOT easier, it also gives other people a chance to share their gifts and feel more accomplished.  Win-win!  Next time you’re stuck or unsure what to do next, don’t bang your head against the wall, just ask for help.
I’ve shared a lot of strategies with you, and you can’t apply all of them at once, so I invite you to take a few seconds right now and decide which ONE you’re going to consciously implement this week.
When you feel like you’ve got that one down, come back to this post and choose one more, and so forth.  Within a few weeks, I guarantee your productivity will reach new heights.


As has been widely reported previously, while the NY Fed's deep underground gold vault remained dry during the Sandy flooding in downtown NY, one institution which got badly hurt was the DTCC, aka Cede & Co (profiled here in July of 2009 in " The Biggest Financial Company You Have Never Heard Of"), which is the entity serving as custodian of virtually every electronically traded security in the modern marketplace (equity, debt, derivative, synthetic, in fact anything which is not a physical asset in itself and is not in the hands, or safe, of the rightful owner). We put the emphasis on electronically, because DTCC is also the actual custodian of all physical proof of stock ownership, such as certificates, bond deeds, and the like. It is the largely irrelevant latter (because it has been several decades since anyone actually demanded a physical copy of the stock certificates backing their shares of company XYZ) that the DTCC got in trouble for when its securities vault got flooded, and in the process destroyed countless physical stock certificates. Note we did not use the word electronic because those are there and accounted for in numerous back up data sites, with full designation and attribution. In other words anyone who made a mountain out of this particular mole hill sadly has no idea how modern markets operate, since all that the DTCC needs to do to remedy the flooding damage is to notify transfer agents of this natural disaster, and then have duplicate stock certificates printed at a cost of 1 cent for every thousands or so print outs. Which is more or less what the DTCC also just said in its press release (more)