PotpourriFriday, June 1st, 2012
Author Tex Norton
What an extraordinary target-rich environment! Every headline reeks of meddling interference by some officious busybody. Not a day goes by without a potpourri of subjects at which to poke some fun. Hence, we will flit from topic to topic just because we can.
The year 2012 is rapidly approaching the midway mark. Does it not seem as though politicians and world meddlers have stepped-up their do-gooding? We can’t begin these observations without first acknowledging Chuckie Schumer. As Bill O’Reilly would opine, he’s just looking out for the folks – NOT! How dare a Face Book co-founder, Eduardo Saverin, surrender his naturalized American Citizenship to become a citizen of Singapore? There must be some dastardly underlying reason; must be his criminal intent to avoid U.S. income taxes on his entrepreneurial endeavors and success. The fact that Saverin was born in Brazil couldn’t be a factor. The fact that he surrendered his citizenship years before Face Book decided to become a publicly listed corporation couldn’t be a factor. No, Eduardo became an ex-patriot solely to avoid U.S. capital gains taxes; rotten ingrate! That anyway, according to Chuckie Schumer who has now proposed legislation to prevent this from EVER happening again. What absolute and shear arrogance? Don’t you just feel so much more secure now that Chuckie is making sure no rotten job-creating capitalist ever gets away with profits he legitimately earned through his own personal efforts, risk and talent? Observation: The moment a Government starts implementing capital controls, it marks the beginning of the end of the system. Can you say Berlin Wall? Is this 1939 Part Deux? Should the Jews be seriously considering getting their capital out of Dodge? Are we now all Jews who should be getting out?
Did anyone note that Elon Musk and his Space-X Dragon performed the mission, as designed? Meaning they successfully reached the Space Station with resupplies. All this from a mere private, profit-seeking company. For a much lower cost than NASA! Yours truly designed, developed and manufactured 9 hardware items that went to the Moon in 1969. Even though we were a sub-contractor to NASA, we proclaimed loudly that private industry could have done the Moon Shot faster, better and cheaper while making a profit with the endeavor. Please note that if private industry isn’t willing to put up the cash to make something happen, it probably isn’t worth doing – at least at the present time.
Anyone hear about Jon Corzine’s arrest and trial? Didn’t think so. Here is a guy that literally ran Goldman Sachs, was Governor of New Jersey, was a United States Senator, but can’t figure out where $1.6+ billion of customer funds went. Much to our chagrin, MF Global got some of our money, too. As much as we admire Jim Rogers (except for his business partnership with George Soros), the folks in actual charge of running the Rogers International Raw Materials Fund, LP haven’t a clue. Several years ago, the Fund got caught-up in the fraud perpetrated by REFCO, a then commodities dealer that appropriated customers’ funds just before filing Bankruptcy. Sound familiar? Anyone can make a mistake – once. When you make the same mistake immediately following the first one, that’s inexcusable! We spent tons of investor money on attorney fees just to get our money back from the bankruptcy proceedings of REFCO only to immediately be subjected to the same fraud, this time by MF Global. Was anyone at Rogers watching the store? One Allen Goodman, CFO (Chief Financial Officer) apparently couldn’t be bothered to perform due diligence on MF Global or he would have easily noted that the fraud pattern was already in-place. You would think that someone in the organization would have taken the time to investigate “The Rap Sheet” on MF Global. There were no fewer than 35 items on the MF Global record, most of them related to actions brought about by the CFTC, for shoddy supervision and record-keeping. The CFTC fined MF Global on several occasions for their misdeeds in numbers identified as $2 million, $75 million and $142 million. All of this information is listed right on the MF Global website yet none of the so-called professional managers/investors bothered to read. Needless to say, we immediately applied for liquidation of our account. For their gross incompetence, Rogers International has now withheld 5% of our account proceeds “pending” recovery of the stolen monies from MF Global. We’re holding our breath – NOT! One would be tempted to ask where the CFTC, The SEC, The Justice Department, et Al were, but we know they were on-the-job; they just didn’t see this one coming and they promise to never, ever let it happen again. Right!
Recently, Charlie Munger, Warren Buffet’s sidekick, stated that “civilized people did not invest in gold; only pre-holocaust Jews sewed gold in the seams of their clothing.” Mind you, this statement after eleven (11) straight years of rising gold prices. We surmise the implication is that these same civilized people did invest in Berkshire Hathaway. How did that work out for you, Charlie? There is absolutely no comparison between the performance of gold and the performance of Berkshire during the same time frame. Gold far out-performed Berkshire. Of course a cynic might offer the comment that these are not civilized times thereby forcing uncivilized investing. We’ll keep our gold, Mr. Munger and you can keep your Berkshire. The reader might also want to read the article “Warren Buffet – Hypocrite Extraordinaire” published earlier on this website. Please note that were it not for the Bailouts, several companies in the Berkshire portfolio would have lost considerable value if not outright being forced into bankruptcy. You’re welcome, Warren and Charlie. We taxpayers are just here to help.
This is the time of year when commencement speeches proliferate. Once again, Neal Boortz has surfaced with his rendition. Having never been invited to give one, when he noted that Kermit The Frog had been invited as a commencement speaker, that was the last straw for Boortz. He wrote his own. While lengthy, we strongly recommend that the reader access for a video option or at for the written version. For the record, the speech was given at Kennesaw State University on May 20, 2009; not as a commencement speech but as part of a benefit for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Enjoy