1. Request Your Support to A Heroes Journey Production: Last Out-Elegy of a Green Beret

    Dear Friends,
    Greg Parsons, CEO of Semper Capital, is a former US Marine and a friend of ours who I would like to introduce to you. Greg and his firm have focused their philanthropic/charitable efforts around our Military Veterans.  One of the groups they work very closely with is The Heroes Journey, founded by a retired Green Beret Lieutenant Colonel, Scott Mann.  The Heroes Journey helps service members transition to civilian life by learning to tell their own stories.  Military men and women “find their voice” in transition with the aid of books, workshops, and virtual training.  Scott Mann spent nearly two years writing his story.  Today it is a play: Last Out-Elegy of a Green Beret.  (See the Trailer:  https://vimeo.com/345946945)
    Semper Capital and CAVU Securities, LLC are proud to bring Last Out to New York City, September 14 & 15, 2019. 
    Here is the ask: Greg needs your help to make this a reality in the form of sponsorships, introductions to other like-minded influential folks in NYC, donations, ticket sales, etc.  If you are interested and able to help, Greg’s managing director, Tom Donnelly, tdonnelly@cavusecurities.com, would like to set up a time in the coming weeks to formally introduce you to the project and see where/how you can be helpful.
    Please see more information about the production below along with a recent interview of Scott Mann with Mike Huckabee: https://youtu.be/Cmqh3-FfadQ.

    LAST OUT: ELEGY OF A GREEN BERET

    A Heroes Journey Production

     Last Out—Elegy of a Green Beret –(Click here to watch quick video Trailer:  https://vimeo.com/345946945 )is a validation of the sacrifices of our country’s heroes and offers a window of opportunity for those seeking training services and storytelling skills to bridge the transition from military to civilian life.

    Last Out—Elegy of a Green Beret is a theatrical production by Ret. Lt. Col. Mann that universally depicts the impact of war on veterans and their families.  Last Out is a validation of the sacrifices of our country’s heroes and offers hope to those struggling with the transition to civilian life. Last Out stimulates a dialogue to promote understanding, compassion, and community cohesion.

    This play is produced by The Heroes Journey, an organization dedicated to supporting veterans and giving them the tools and training they need to share their stories and to bridge the transition from military to civilian life. Each performance is followed by a powerful audience discussion led by the cast, and free resources and reference materials are provided to help combat veterans return to civilian life after deployments. This project has been presented to diverse audiences comprised of veterans, military families, and civilians at theatres across the country.

    The Heroes Journey

    After terrorists launched an attack on the United States on September 11, 2001, Lt. Col. Scott Mann and his teammates in the 7th Special Forces Group were fueled by a sense of purpose.  “We were pushing a much more kinetic path to get at the bad guys and put scalps on the barn,” he said. “It is safe to say a large part of our regiment did the same thing until about 2009, 2010. There were more Taliban than we started, and we lost our way.”  When Lt. Col. Mann came home, he found it hard to shed that purpose and to readjust to civilian life.  He spent a few years in a dark place.

    “What I found in my own transition is I became dark after a couple of years and it was only through learning to tell my story, my hero’s journey I guess, that I started to reconnect with my purpose and find my way home.”

    To assist others who are encountering similar struggles, Lt. Col. Mann and his wife, Monty, formed the non-profit organization The Heroes Journey.  The Heroes Journey helps service members transition to civilian life by learning to tell their own stories.  Military men and women “find their voice” in transition with the aid of books, workshops, and virtual training.

    Last Out—Elegy of a Green Beret

    Every year 200,000 Veterans transition from military service into civilian life. It is a challenging time that often results in significant personal changes for veterans who must re-discover their voice. Storytelling, a powerful form of communal therapy, is a dynamic tool for coping with the stresses of military transition and strengthening our communities.

    “In a back-and-forth time frame covering over 25 years of time (1989-2015) it resembles an ancient Greek tale about warriors and heroes’ journeys–but in this case an American warrior, a Green Beret,” noted a DC theater critic after a performance over Memorial Day weekend. Indeed, Ancient Greek tragedies were a form of storytelling aimed at imparting the experience of war, and when a veteran’s own harrowing struggles are recognized in the story of Last Out, there is a validation that opens the door to letting go and healing.

    The play follows Army Green Beret Danny Patton as he fights in battles ranging from tribal Afghanistan to his own living room.  As the corrosive gears of war begin to rip apart Danny’s family, his integrity, and his soul, he is thrust into one final, eternal mission.  With Valhalla beckoning, Danny discovers that combat can be fueled by vengeance or by love…depending on the price you are willing to pay.

    Taking two years to complete, Last Out—Elegy of a Green Beret is based on true stories of modern war told from a downrange and home-front perspective. With a cast made up entirely of veterans and their family members, Last Out is a theatrical experience intended to help civilians better understand the cost of combat to our veterans and their families, and to help warriors utilize the power of story to let go of their pain, healing the wounds of war.

    You’ve heard the war stories of the “first in.”  This is the untold story of the Last Out.

    Thanks for your time and again, to learn more about how you and your firm might support our Military Veterans, please contact Tom Donnelly, tdonnelly@cavusecurities.com, a Semper Capital company.

  2. U.S.-China Trade War Enters a New Phase. But It’s Only a Truce for Now

    The G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, came and went on June 28–29 without much substance except for the meeting on the sidelines between President Trump, President Xi of China and their teams of advisers. Of course, the subject was the ongoing trade wars between the U.S. and China.

    Trump was poised to raise tariffs on the remaining $300 billion of goods imported from China that were not already subject to tariffs. Trump had severely damaged the business of China’s Huawei, the world’s largest manufacturer of telecom equipment. China had retaliated with tariffs on about $150 billion of U.S. imports and had curtailed large purchases of U.S. agricultural produce, especially soybeans. The trade wars were escalating quickly.

    As this article details, the result of the G20 meeting was a kind of truce in the war. Trump agreed not to impose tariffs on the additional $300 billion of imports (but did not reduce any existing tariffs). Trump also eased up on U.S. tech sales to Huawei (but did not end the prohibition of Huawei’s products in the U.S. 5G network).

    Xi agreed to resume purchases of U.S. soybeans. On the whole, this truce stopped the escalation (for now) and provided some relief for both sides.

    Importantly, both China and the U.S. agreed to resume the trade talks that ended abruptly in early May. Stocks rallied on the news, interest rate cuts were stalled and gold fell. Suddenly, the “risk off” mentality became “risk on” and safe-haven assets lost favor.

    We’ll see how long this lasts. The open issues in the trade talks are the hardest to resolve (theft of intellectual property and enforcement mechanisms), and there’s no reason to believe they will be resolved quickly.

    It may be the truce continues through the 2020 election in order not to disturb the stock market and to help Trump’s reelection chances. But the new cold war between China and the U.S. will last longer than the election cycle and probably longer than Trump’s and Xi’s times in office. Investors should be prepared for the long haul, which means adaptable supply chains and slower growth in China.

    Institutional investors can schedule a proof of concept with the world’s first predictive data analytics firm combining human and artificial intelligence with complexity science. Check out Jim Rickard’s company at Meraglim Holdings to learn more.

  3. Iran May Be Heading for Collapse Without a Shot Being Fired

    A lot of Americans breathed a sigh of relief after the recent attack on a U.S. drone by Iranian missiles. The world expected a swift counterattack by President Trump, perhaps in the form of a cruise missile aimed at the Iranian command center that conducted the attack on the drone. This could easily have escalated into a full-scale war that would have closed the Straits of Hormuz to vital shipments of oil.

    The counterattack never came. Instead, Trump warned Iran not to attack again and left the door open to negotiations on Iran’s nuclear enrichment and weapons development programs. It seemed a war had been averted.

    In fact, the U.S. is in a full-scale war with Iran today. But it’s not a shooting war… it’s a financial war. As this article explains, the U.S. has been engaged in a fierce financial war with Iran since 2017 when Trump tore up Obama’s Iran deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA) and started a campaign of “maximum pressure” on the economic front.

    Iran has been excluded from dollar payments systems and the U.S. is enforcing an embargo on Iranian oil exports. The U.S. has told foreign banks if they do business in Iran, they will be excluded from business in the U.S. (including access to the dollar payment system) and severely penalized. Iran is experiencing a severe cash shortage, inflation approaching 50%, a scarcity of imported goods and a collapsing economy.

    Sooner rather than later, this economic pain will turn into social unrest and demonstrations against the regime. The truth is that Trump does not have to fire missiles. He just has to wait. The Iranian state is collapsing from within.

    In the meantime, higher world oil prices are a natural result of the embargo on Iran’s oil exports.

    Institutional investors can schedule a proof of concept with the world’s first predictive data analytics firm combining human and artificial intelligence with complexity science. Check out Jim Rickard’s company at Meraglim Holdings to learn more.

  4. This Article Is Highly Technical, but It Shows You Just How China Steals

    We try to present articles that are important and high-level but not necessarily highly technical. Most technical specifications are needless and the points the reporter is trying to make can be expressed in plain English or with helpful metaphors. But there are exceptions.

    Some articles are so important and disturbing they need to be presented in technical form so the reader can grasp the depth of the problem. This is one such article.

    Most people understand that internet message traffic is broken into packets that move through specified routes and channels and are then reassembled on whatever device is receiving the message. This method is highly efficient and avoids message “traffic jams” that would result if all messages were sent through a narrow set of channels. However, the channels themselves are regulated and guarded to avoid exposure of message traffic to hostile or untrustworthy actors.

    Recently, a Swiss data center leaked 70,000 sensitive internet traffic routes. Those routes were quickly published by China Telecom, which caused a huge volume of message traffic to redirect through those routes. This in turn allowed the Chinese government (which controls China Telecom) to steal the information contained in that message traffic. (You can see the designation CHINANET BACKBONE NETWORK on the routing data from a Google view shown in the article).

    China steals an enormous amount of Western intellectual property through sophisticated and illegal hacking. This time the data dump was handed to them on a silver platter.

    Institutional investors can schedule a proof of concept with the world’s first predictive data analytics firm combining human and artificial intelligence with complexity science. Check out Jim Rickard’s company at Meraglim Holdings to learn more.

  5. Google Should Keep You up at Night in the Next Election, Not Russia

    Although Donald Trump himself was cleared of “collusion” with the Russians in interfering with the 2016 election, the Russians themselves were not cleared. The evidence showed that there was Russian interference in terms of fake websites, inflammatory memes and other internet advertising tricks of the trade.

    Experts disagree on how much actual influence this had on U.S. voters (most say very little but some dissent), but the Russians definitely showed their hand.

    What about the 2020 election? It’s not too much to say that huge resources have been deployed from the U.S. intelligence community and the Pentagon’s Cyber Command to head off Russian and Chinese interference.

    But what if the enemy is closer to home? This article is an exposé of efforts by senior executives at Google to rig the 2020 election against Donald Trump.

    Google executive Jen Gennai was caught on video saying, “We all got screwed over in 2016… how do we prevent it from happening again?” She also said, “We’re… training our algorithms, like, if 2016 happened again… would the outcome be different?” She explains that Google needs to remain a giant company because only large companies have the resources needed for “preventing the next Trump situation.”

    Trump should win anyway because the eggheads in Silicon Valley don’t understand him or his supporters. All of the algorithms in the world are not effective against something you don’t understand. The eggheads should get out more.

    Still, just because they may not be successful does not mean they won’t try. When it comes to the integrity of the next election, don’t let the Russians keep you up at night. That honor belongs to Google.

    Institutional investors can schedule a proof of concept with the world’s first predictive data analytics firm combining human and artificial intelligence with complexity science. Check out Jim Rickard’s company at Meraglim Holdings to learn more.

  6. What’s a Worse Sign Than Yield Curve Inversion? A Bear Steepener

    You’ve seen and heard endless reporting about the “inverted” yield curve and how it’s a top recession indicator. What exactly does that mean?

    The yield curve is just a matter of connecting the dots on a chart, which represents particular yields on bonds of particular maturities. For example, right now the 10-year Treasury note has a yield-to-maturity of 2.007% and the 30-year bond has a yield-to-maturity of 2.533%. If you draw a line between those two yields, you get a curve that slopes upward from left to right as you move to longer maturities.

    Normally, the entire yield curve slopes upward from left to right as you move out from 3-month bills to 30-year bonds. That makes sense because longer maturities have more risk of losing money due to inflation or default so they deserve a higher yield (what’s called the “risk premium”). There’s just one problem – that upward slope is not true today.

    The 3-month bill yields 2.101%, but the 5-year note yields 1.768%. That means the yield curve slopes down from 3-months to 5-years before sloping up again to the 10-year maturity and beyond. That dip in the curve from 3-months to 5-years is called an “inverted” yield curve because yields drop instead of rising.

    An inverted yield curve is considered a sign of recession because the market is saying the Fed may have to raise rates in the short run (to cool off the economy) but longer run rates will be lower (once the recession hits). But that analysis is unlikely to be true today because the Fed has distorted and manipulated the entire yield curve with its QE and QT policies.

    It’s hard to know how to interpret the yield curve today except to say the Fed has messed it up and should stop its manipulation. Is the yield curve telling us anything else? According to this article, the answer is an emphatic yes.

    In addition to inverting, the yield curve is now steepening. This doesn’t mean all rates are going up. It means the “spread” or difference between short-term and long-term rates is expanding. That can be bullish (investors expect growth and higher rates) or bearish (investors expect recession and are running for safe-haven assets).

    We’ll find out soon enough. For now, the inversion plus steepening is being taken by some as a sure sign of recession.

    Institutional investors can schedule a proof of concept with the world’s first predictive data analytics firm combining human and artificial intelligence with complexity science. Check out Jim Rickard’s company at Meraglim Holdings to learn more.

     

  7. Here’s a New Tax… on Nothing

    Cities, states and countries around the world are facing a common dilemma ⁠— too much debt and not enough growth. Entitlement spending and spending on favored unions for teachers and construction workers are growing faster than the rate of inflation, but tax collections from everyday workers cannot keep up.

    One of the reasons growth is slow is because taxes are too high and the most productive citizens leave the high-tax jurisdictions and head for places like Texas, Florida and Tennessee, which have no income taxes. Of course, the politicians’ solution to high taxes is ⁠— to raise taxes!

    Eventually, income taxes and sales taxes reach a breaking point and even the big tax-and-spend progressives can’t raise those rates any higher. Instead, they look for new items to tax including soda, gasoline, bridge and highway tolls and services that previously escaped the sales tax. Eventually, those tax targets get tapped out also.

    What’s next? Los Angeles believes it can solve this problem by taxing ⁠— nothing.

    This article describes a new tax on empty apartments. This “empty space” tax is in addition to the property taxes, income taxes and other taxes that already hit apartment owners.

    In theory, this is a penalty on owners for failing to let homeless people live in their empty apartments. Never mind that apartments are empty because owners are renovating them or preparing them for sale (both of which help the economy).

    In the late Roman Empire, Rome taxed agricultural output at 20%. Many farmers resisted this by leaving their land uncultivated. Rome then attacked those farmers by taxing actual output or “deemed” output, even if the land was left fallow. This was a “tax on nothing” similar to what Los Angeles is considering.

    Roman farmers then abandoned title to the land to avoid the deemed tax on nothing. Eventually, barbarian invaders arrived and offered the farmers a better deal. The barbarian tax rate was only 10% and did not apply to empty land. The farmers embraced this tax deal.

    The barbarians did not “conquer” Rome. They were welcomed with open arms by Roman farmers. If history is any guide, Los Angeles is approaching the same state of terminal collapse as ancient Rome.

    Institutional investors can schedule a proof of concept with the world’s first predictive data analytics firm combining human and artificial intelligence with complexity science. Check out Jim Rickard’s company at Meraglim Holdings to learn more.

  8. After 30 Years of Failure, the Bank of Japan Throws in the Towel

    The leading Japanese stock index, the Nikkei 225, briefly hit a level of 40,000 at the end of 1989. Guess what? In 2019, the Nikkei 225 index is still at 21,085, a full 47% below the all-time high 30 years later.

    The Nikkei has bounced around a lot over the decades, but it has never come close to the 40,000 mark. At the lows in the 1990s, it was around 7,000, or down 82.5%, comparable to how U.S. stocks performed from 1929–1932 in the Great Depression.

    By the end of the 1990s, critics of the Bank of Japan’s efforts to revive the Japanese economy began referring to a “Lost Decade.” The implication was that the BoJ had not provided enough stimulus in the form of money printing and had failed to help Japan escape from the liquidity trap that impaired asset values, lending and spending. Ironically, critics still use the phrase “Lost Decade,” but of course the reality is that there have been three lost decades since 1989.

    After 30 years, Japan is still stuck with low growth (punctuated by occasional technical recessions), deflation, negative interest rates, futile money printing and all of the indicia of a prolonged depression. When Ben Bernanke came along as Fed chair in 2006, he was determined to avoid the mistakes of the BoJ. Instead, he made every one.

    Bernanke cut rates, printed money, bought assets and pumped up asset values. Still, nothing happened.

    The U.S. economy became stuck in a 2.2% growth rut, well below the long-term trend of 3.2% growth. Bernanke had his own “lost decade” before stepping aside for Janet Yellen in 2014.

    This article brings the sad story of the Bank of Japan up to date. BoJ Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda was appointed in early 2013 and had vowed to avoid the mistakes of his predecessors. He would pursue negative interest rates and massive asset purchases (including stocks and private debt) and push for a weaker yen.

    Once again, these efforts failed. The yen actually grew stronger (because of an absence of inflation) and negative rates signaled deflation rather than inflation, which intensified the deflationary mindset that had already gripped the Japanese people. Now Kuroda is discredited and the Bank of Japan is out of ideas.

    Maybe Japan should just abolish its central bank (the U.S. had no central bank from 1836 to 1913 and the economy flourished). That’s one idea Japan has not tried. It just might work.

    Institutional investors can schedule a proof of concept with the world’s first predictive data analytics firm combining human and artificial intelligence with complexity science. Check out Jim Rickard’s company at Meraglim Holdings to learn more.

  9. Trump Will Call China’s Bluff in the Trade War

    China has now adopted a new strategy in the ongoing trade war with the U.S. Their strategy is “Blame Trump!”

    China is taking the position that their requests are reasonable and that only Trump’s intransigence is holding up an agreement. Wall Street is cheering China because an end to the trade war will likely bring another rally in stocks. Every “risk on” day is another day for stock salesmen and index fund sponsors to profit.

    There’s only one thing wrong with China’s posture. It’s a bluff.

    In fact, time is not on China’s side. Tariffs have a much greater impact on the Chinese economy than the U.S. economy because China depends more on trade. Exports are important to the U.S., but they are a much smaller part of the economy than is the case in China.

    The U.S. also has a much more diversified list of trading partners including Europe, Australia, South Asia and Latin America. Most of China’s exports go to the U.S., so any trade war with the U.S. is very costly for China.

    This article provides a good overview of official Chinese statements related to the trade war. China’s posturing was intended to set the stage for the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Osaka, Japan, which concluded this weekend. There were some positive statements made on trade in Osaka, but no Grand Bargain of the kind that would bring the trade wars to an end.

    Meanwhile, China’s tariffs continue to pile up inside the U.S. Treasury (to be used by Trump to provide relief to U.S. farmers), while China’s economy continues to slow due in part to those same tariffs. China is the country running out of time, not the U.S.

    If China thinks bluffing can wait out the United States, President Trump is just the one to call their bluff.

    Institutional investors can schedule a proof of concept with the world’s first predictive data analytics firm combining human and artificial intelligence with complexity science. Check out Jim Rickard’s company at Meraglim Holdings to learn more.

  10. Even the “Bond King” Is Buying Gold

    Readers know about the recent action in gold prices. The dollar price of gold moved from $1,270 per ounce to $1,440 per ounce from late May to late June. That’s a 13.3% gain in one month, which annualizes to a 160% return.

    Of course, gold is likely to level off a bit until we get more clarity from the Fed about interest rate cuts. That’s fine; gold is holding above the $1,400 per ounce level and a gain is a gain.

    Gold has traded in a narrow range for the past six years. Since 2013, gold has bounced off of lows around $1,100 per ounce and retreated from highs around $1,370 per ounce. The highs were reached on occasions like the Brexit vote in June 2016, and lows were hit after Fed rate hikes led to a stronger dollar (which means a lower dollar price for gold).

    Despite the volatility, gold stayed in that $1,100–1,370 range. That’s over. With gold’s breakout, it’s out of the range to the upside and seems able to hold that level.

    The precious metal has had baseline support because of huge purchases by the Russian and Chinese central banks as well as facing head winds because of Fed tightening and the strong dollar. But with the recent Fed pivot toward monetary ease (by leaving the door open to rate cuts and ending quantitative tightening), the head winds are gone while the buying support remains. That’s a great setup for further gains.

    There’s no better evidence for this change of sentiment than this article about “Bond King” Jeff Gundlach. The Bond King is a well-known market guru with a great reputation for profiting from bond market moves. He also trades stocks and currencies when the opportunity presents.

    The fact that a noted bond and currency trader is moving into gold is obviously bullish, but it reveals a deeper truth. Gundlach is treating gold as a form of “money” rather than a commodity. That makes sense and is the best way for all investors to think about gold.

    Institutional investors can schedule a proof of concept with the world’s first predictive data analytics firm combining human and artificial intelligence with complexity science. Check out Jim Rickard’s company at Meraglim Holdings to learn more.