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10/22/11

Reactions to this week's Friday OT...

...have made me laugh no end. 

At time of this post (10:30am Saturday) I've received 24 (yes, twenty-four) mails on yesterday's Friday OT, with precisely 12 congratulating on the choice and precisely 12 hating on the choice, which if memory serves is the largest amount of mailbag received on any post about any subject, let alone a Friday OT. I thank you all for your mails and opinions and again make my position of pro-Dancing Queen clearly stated, but who'd have thought that a 70's band from Sweden would be the root cause of such a polemic split in society?

Congratulations Peru, now world's number one!

In potential cocaine production. Here's the link to the DEA testimony last week, here's the chart:


As for a few observations....
  • It's worth noting that Bolivia's "potential" cocaine production number is surely way higher than the actual, because Bolivia uses a lot of its coca leaves for its traditional purposes (chewing, coca tea, ceremonies etc). That's also true to some extent in Peru. However Colombia has no tradition of coca uses outside of cocaine manufacturing, so that 270 metric tonnes number is probably all dedicated to cocaine production.
  • Plan Colombia has cut into cocaine production in Colombia, no doubts on that. However it's largely the crackdown against the FARC-EP and the right wing paramilitaries that's seen the progress, more than the well-documented crop spraying campaigns.
  • Peru has been ignored on the world scale, with Colombia the US target of choice and then Bolivia because of its "anti-US" stance (or at least, that's the line you guys are fed up there and the truth is far more nuanced). But Peru, with its "US-Friendly" Alan García government, has been ignored. So production of cocaine has grown.
  • Funny how Peru suddenly jumps up the agenda when a left wing President takes power, innit?

DYODD, dude

10/21/11

The Friday OT: Abba; Dancing Queen

Best pop song ever.


 The end

After catching up with the market action and week's news today...

...it really does look like a great time to do some cheap buying. The ones I'd go for are the juniors that do decent volume, be they explorers or producers, and got beaten down yesterday on the samo samo world-gonna-end stuff and haven't seen much of a bounceback today. Preference would be for gold-exposed names, but the way things are right now I'd happily go with silver or base metals plays too...as long as they run plenty daily volume and you can get in and out with relative ease.

For those of you with more patience the less liquid issues have some stonking looking bargains amongst them too, but more patience with entry and exit is always needed so they're not really suited for the quickflip scenario.

I'll tell a true truth about site visits

Some are easier than others, conditions-wise at least. This photo taken yesterday morning.


The weather may have been cruddy but the project was well worth its visit. More photos, a full write-up and numbercrunching in IKN129 this weekend, subscribers.

Chart of the day is...

Gold (GLD) versus silver (SLV) versus gold miners (GDX) versus junior miners (GDXJ) the last five days:


All bad, but metals beat miners in the orderly fashion you'd expect. However the pre-market shows a rebound for today. Something for the weekend, sir?

Sometimes...

...it's very useful to be out of interwebnetpipes range for a couple of days. For example, I didn't have to worry about this:

And Cu is doing the nice thing and bouncing overnight, too. Meanwhile, this links to a special report from Reuters today entitled, "CHINA'S COMMODITY DEMAND RESILIENT TO EXTERNAL HEADWINDS"

10/20/11

Breaking: Car bomb at a Peru police station

Reports so far are patchy, but say that a car bomb probably based on dynamite exploded outside the main police station in the city of Juliaca, Peru region, just after 8pm EST (7pm local time) tonight and that there are dead police on the scene.

update: latest is three dead including one police officer and buildings and windows detroyed all round the police station

update 2: Now it's a truck filled with fireworks that went up, leaving seven dead including four police officers plus a whole heap of injured. Report and video of the scene here

10/19/11

A quick update on Jaguar (JAG) (JAG.to) before heading into the wild woods

O RLY?

xAnyway, have a pleasant day.

10/18/11

Jaguar Mining (JAG) (JAG.to): Tristeza não tem fim

The non-stop train-wreck of a gold mining company known as Jaguar Mining (JAG.to) (JAG) reported its 3q11 production numbers this evening and as usual the company had a disappointment in store. Not that you'd notice it at first, of course, because all the lyrical waxing and such in the first paragraphs about record this, record that and record the other. Nah, to get to the real story you had to read the whole thing, because the serial bullshitters running JAG always leave the worst bit til last.

By way of context, back in the 1q11 MD&A, JAG set out its production estimates for the years ahead like this:
2011-2015 Estimated Production and Cash Operating Costs
The Company’s 2011-2015 gold production estimates are as follows:

Year         Gold Production (ounces)
2011         195,000 – 205,000
2012         240,000 – 255,000
2013         400,000 – 420,000
2014         435,000 – 460,000
2015         390,000 – 425,000

In other words, JAG said to the world that it would produce between 195,000 and 205,000 ounces of gold this year. In that same document it predicted those ounces would be produced at a cash cost of between $660 and $700 per ounce

So to the 2q11 MD&A, dated August 10th this year (just two and a bit months ago, you'll note). In that official company we were told this:

"Although production for the quarter ended June 30, 2011 was impacted by mill issues at Caeté, Jaguar’s management believes its year-to-date operating results, mine improvements and new development are consistent with achieving 2011 production at the lower end of the guidance range."

OK, fair enough. Perhaps at the 195,000 oz of production, but JAG said it would make its guidance. So to the production report, out tonight. Here's what the company says now:

"Based on actual production during the first three quarters of the year, the current rate of production at the Company's mining operations and the mill issues at Paciência described above, Jaguar's management now expects 2011 full year production to be in the range of 155,000 to 163,000 ounces of gold at an average cash operating cost in the range of $835 to $845 per ounce."

 Owl please!

In other words, as late as August 2011 JAG assured the market it would be able to run its mines at 55,000 oz or 60,000 oz Au per quarter to reach its guidance after two quarters of 40k production as seen here....
1q11 prod 41,449
2q11 prod 40,257
3q11 prod 40,660
4q11est prod 40,000
...but now it says that the mines will run at 40k/qtr.....hmm, slight difference, no? And while we're at it, that "$660/oz to $700/oz" cash cost estimate has drifted higher, to $835 and $840/oz. 

It's not the fact that JAG is bullshitting the market this year that makes reason for a post such as today, either. It's the fact that JAG bullshits the market every freakin' year and here's a great example of the never-ending guff'n'nonsense we get from JAG, a cutting from its October 2007 presentation to analysts

On target! ON TARGET! Apparently we should be looking at a company with 400k annum production in 2011, but it can't even reach 200k! This woeful company will still be able to pull the wool over the eyes of the naive end of the investment universe in the quarters and years to come. Just make sure you're not one of the suckers it fools this time. DYODD.

On the road

Jack's back.


Posting will be light until Friday, as your humble scribe goes off and pretends to do some work in a more rural setting. So for your further education, edification and enlightenment, here's a slab of Jack to muse upon until then.
I can just see the shabby literary man carrying a "bulging briefcase" rushing from one campus to another, one lecture club to another, nodding confirmation with his hosts that he is right, hurrying to the next town ... a whole gray career of proving himself to others, to as many as can hear him, that he was right ... till finally people say: "Here comes the self-prover again, O dear ... bring out the papers and the canapes." This my friend is what I will become if I accept all lecture offers, TV appearances, radio interviews and start arranging with reviewers and critics who want information and my books through me, a great long lifetime in a briefcase proving my work and my work itself stopped dead at the level where I took to proving myself. So, I say, life is too sweet to waste on self propaganda, I quit self promotion, I enter my page.

The "Junior Mining News Release Guffaw of the Day" award goes to...

...Amerix Precious Metals (APM.v).

There's a line in Monty Python's Life of Brian where Judith (Brian's girlfriend) runs into the HQ of the PFJ* and tells the committee that Brian has just been arrested. Cleese's character in the scene then says, 

"Right! This calls for IMMEDIATE discussion!"

So your humble scribe thanks Amerix (APM.v) for the memory today when on opening the company's NR this was read:

"Amerix is planning an aggressive campaign of follow up geochemical sampling of all the potential gold targets on the Limão property over the upcoming months."

Well, I LOL'd. Ain't nothin' like moving a project on quickly, is there guys?


*People's Front of Judea, not the splitters at the JPF

Y'know, if I were Kaare Foy, Executive Chairman of Great Panther Silver (GPR.to) (GPL)...

...I'd spend less of my time trying to bully bloggers with empty threats of legal action that he'd never win because his case would be laughed out of court and more time worrying just why his company was performing like this compared to companies that he thinks are peers to GPR:


I'd also be more worried about just why his CEO seems more interested in cashing out his personal shareholding than actually running his company. After all, that job title of his does say Executive Chairman. Which means he's supposedly taking an active role at the company, right?

PS: Don't forget, Kaare:



Now you have a nice day, wontcha?

Chart of the day is...

...gold, 5 minute candles:


WHEEEE! Isn't this fun?

10/17/11

What we know about Tom Mair of Golden Star (GSS) (GSC.to)

1) He's the President of Golden Star (GSC.to) (GSS)
2) He's the CEO of Golden Star
3) He's a bullshitter

Let's see what Mair was quoted as saying in this morning's production report NR:

"...third quarter gold production at Bogoso/Prestea was slightly higher than we had forecast. Wassa/HBB's gold production was slightly below expectation in the third quarter due to lower than expected mill availability and ore handling issues. On a consolidated basis, we achieved third quarter gold production guidance."

Waddya say about that, Owly?

To the numbers! In the same NR, we read that the Bogoso/Prestea mine saw 40,376 oz Au sold and the Wassa/HBB mine saw 33,485 oz Au sold. All fair enough until you compare those ounces again the REAL guidance supplied by GSS, back in its 2q11 MD&A published on August 9th. In that little work of abstract art we have the following:


Yep, both the GSS mines missed guidance, with the consolidated performance of 73,861 oz Au in 3q11 nearly ten thousand ounces short of the forecast of just ten weeks ago. So you achieved production guidance did you, Mair? MY ASS YOU DID!  But oh, you're basing your crap on the September 14th production update NR when, just two freakin' weeks before the period closed you said Bogoso/Prestea would produce 39,000 oz and Wassa/HBB would produce 35,000 oz. And even then you missed! Here's a special message for you, bullshit merchant and your pisspoor gold mining joke company too:


Got it? Or do you need another visual to get the full picture here?

Notice anything, Tom?

Mining PRs and the Ottotrans™, Part 46



In the latest episode of this occasional series that tries its very hardest to take the guff'n'nonsense written in junior mining news releases and convert it into English, we take in the NR from Takara Resources (TKK.v) published today.

This is what they wrote:


Press Release Source: Takara Resources Inc. On Monday October 17, 2011, 12:18 pm EDT
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire -10/17/11)- Takara Resources Inc. ("Takara" or the "Company") (TSX-V: TKK.V - News) announces that over the past few months the Company has been working on data compilation of the Arakaka Gold Project, NW Guyana, South America, as well as following up on targets identified by the prior operators, which includes improving the access and infrastructure in furtherance of an extensive sampling, trenching and diamond drilling campaign. The area of the Arakaka Gold property has several historical open pits that have been mined since the early 1900's, and the results from the previous trenching, sampling and drill programs were very encouraging and require further exploration.
Takara commenced an extensive prospecting and geochemical survey program on the underexplored southwest and southeast parts of the Arakaka Gold Project. The program includes soil sampling, "ridge and spur" sampling and trenching. The geochemical survey is combined with reconnaissance mapping in order to evaluate geochemical anomalies and outline targets for further exploration. The main objective is to prepare for an extensive diamond drill program on the underexplored Macaw Gold trend, which will help the Company to evaluate the extent and degree of the gold mineralization and the exploration and mining potential of the Property. Macaw trend is well known for widely spread surface coarse grained gold and multiple artisanal workings. Soil samples have been taken at 50 meter intervals along survey lines and both the grab and soil samples are sent for preparation to Acme Analytical Laboratories Ltd. in Georgetown, Guyana. The samples are analyzed for fire assay and ICP analyses in Acme Analytical Labs in Santiago, Chile. The ACME analytical facilities in Santiago (Chile) and Vancouver (Canada), and the preparation facility in Georgetown (Guyana) are commercial geochemical analysis and assaying labs accredited under ISO 9001 certification.
The second area for a follow up is in the heart of the Arakaka Trend, in the vicinity of the Arakaka village. Despite the presence of the intensive alluvial mining in the area, the project remains largely underexplored. The area is characterized by gold bearing quartz-carbonate veins and veinlets with sulphide mineralization and disseminated gold mineralization in alteration zones, associated with faults and fold structures. Gold mineralization intersected by the previous drilling is associated with intense quartz veining and related alteration in the vicinity of a regional thrust fault, within a deformed metasedimentary package. The previous operator has identified two separate, high-grade quartz veins, both with coarse grained visible gold.
B-22 and B-23 Update
Title to two of the Company's properties, B-22 and B-23, within the Arakaka Gold Project is being challenged by a third party company. Takara has taken initial legal action in an effort to resolve the matter in its favour, and it intends to, where required, vigorously defend its position in this regard. Updates will be provided as additional information becomes available.

And this is what it means:

We don't have title to our property.

dyodd, dudettes and dudes

Can somebody ask The Motley Dumbass Christopher Barker about this chart, please?

After all, it is the chart of his "favourite silver miner" Great Panther (GPR.to) (GPL) that runs from the day he wrote those words (April 14th) to date.

Hey...only 40% down dude. Never mind, it's not as if you're actually responsible for your reader's losses, is it?

dyodd

UPDATE: I'm sorry, did I say 40% down? Seems I meant 43.8% down (according to today's intraday action at least).

Peru import and export figures

I was hanging over at the Peru Central Bank website this morning...y'know, like you do...and got sidetracked by the monthly stats page for while. Then downloaded a whole bunch of numbers I like to follow but didn't really need today. Then before I could stop myself, generated two charts with pretty garish colours and everything so rather than waste them, I thought I'd stick them here.

This one shows how exports have evolved on a monthly basis since January 2000, with the columns split between mining and non-mining exports.


This one runs from 2005 (it was too busy to get in the whole dataset from 2000 onwards) and shows how exports have consistently outstripped imports in Peru. This (along with smart monetary policy form velarde & Co at the CenBank) is why the Peru Nuevo Sol (PEN) has been a strong currency recently.

So there you go.

Canaccord drops its gold and silver price forecasts

This thing The Can of Corn has with "peak gold" and "peak silver" (very silly names, dudes) has just got a bit less peaky, it seems. Los de la lata del choclo have just dropped their gold and silver price forecasts in the following way:

New Gold Forecasts: Our new gold estimates are as follows: US$1,576/oz (from US$1,575/oz) in 2011; US$1,750/oz (from US$1,650/oz) in 2012; US$1,650/oz (from US$1,500/oz) in 2013; and US$1,500/oz long term (2014 and beyond), from US$1,400/oz in 2014, US$1,300/oz in 2015, US$1,200/oz in 2016 and US$1,100 long term (2017 and beyond). Our peak gold price forecast remains unchanged at US$1,750/oz Au.

New Silver Forecasts: Our new silver estimates are as follows: US$35/oz (from US$39/oz) in 2011; US$40/oz (from US$41/oz) in 2012; US$33/oz (from US$35/oz) in 2013; and US$27.50/oz long-term (2014 and beyond), from US$31/oz in 2014; US$27/oz in 2015; US$24/oz in 2016; and US$22/oz long-term. Our peak silver price forecast has dropped to US$40/oz from US$45/oz previously.

This affects their covered miners of course and here's that little list of fun.
Timmins Gold Corp. (TMM : TSX-V): Show me the recovery; downgrading to SELL from Hold, with a revised target price of C$2.20 (from C$2.60)
Goldgroup Mining Inc. (GGA : TSX): Revised gold price deck; maintaining SPECULATIVE BUY rating with a revised target price of C$3.00 (from C$2.80)
Alexco Resource Corp. (AXR : TSX): Revising peak silver forecast to US$40/oz, from US$45/oz; maintaining SPECULATIVE BUY rating with a revised target price of C$9.75 (from C$12.25)
Bear Creek Mining Corp. (BCM : TSX-V): Revising peak silver forecast to US$40/oz, from US$45/oz; maintaining SPECULATIVE BUY rating with a revised target price of C$7.00 (from C$8.50)
Canaco Resources Inc. (CAN : TSX-V): Revised gold price deck; maintaining SPECULATIVE BUY rating with a revised target price of C$6.00 (from C$7.50)
East Asia Minerals Corp. (EAS : TSX-V): Unknown project timeline, higher risk aversion; maintaining HOLD but reducing target to C$1.75 from C$2.80
Exeter Resource Corp. (XRC : TSX): Sector risk adjustments impact valuation; reiterate SPECULATIVE BUY but lowering target to C$9.35 from C$11.50
Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. (FVI : TSX): Revising peak silver forecast to US$40/oz, from US$45/oz; maintaining SPECULATIVE BUY rating with a revised target price of C$8.25 (from C$9.00)
Golden Minerals Company (AUM : TSX): Revising peak silver forecast to US$40/oz, from US$45/oz; maintaining SPECULATIVE BUY rating with a revised target price of C$22.75 (from C$23.50)
MAG Silver Corp. (MAG : TSX): Revising peak silver forecast to US$40/oz, from US$45/oz; maintaining SPECULATIVE BUY rating with a revised target price of C$16.75 (from C$18.50)
North Country Gold Corp. (NCG : TSX-V): Market risk aversion impacts valuation; maintain SPECULATIVE BUY but reducing target to C$2.20 from C$2.70
Sandstorm Gold Ltd. (SSL : TSX-V): Revised gold price deck; maintaining SPECULATIVE BUY rating with a revised target price of C$1.70 (from C$1.90)
SilverCrest Mines Inc. (SVL : TSX-V): Revising peak silver forecast to US$40/oz, from US$45/oz; maintaining SPECULATIVE BUY rating with a revised target price of C$3.15 (from C$4.00)
Metals and Mining -- Precious Metals and Minerals: Record global liquidity should sustain robust precious metal prices; raising long-term gold/silver price forecasts to $1,500/$27.50 (from $1,100/$22)
Alamos Gold Inc. (AGI : TSX): Low cost production growth expected to continue; transferring coverage with a revised BUY rating and C$22.50 target price
La Mancha Resources Inc. (LMA : TSX): Revised gold price deck; growth, prospectivity & strong balance sheet; if only there was some liquidity! Maintain SPEC BUY and C$3.85 target
Minefinders Corporation Ltd. (MFN : AMEX): Banking on continued operational momentum and execution of growth plans; transferring coverage with a revised BUY rating and US$20.00 target price

Don't believe me on this? Well take a look yourself cos here's the report link. Please be having nice yes day yes thanks you very welling.

Chart of the day is...

...copper, hourly candles.

Because it's definitely the metal I most care about today. And it's my blog. So there.

10/16/11

The IKN Weekly, out now

remember different

IKN128 has just been sent to subscribers and though hardly Pulitzer material it's better than last week's load of junk.

thinking about OWS...

...got me playing Manu Chao this morning. And this track is just wonderful.

Mike Churchill on OWS

Main man Michael Churchill of Churchill Research sent the following out to his mailing list today. As it's cool to pass on, that's exactly what I'm doing here. enjoy.

Classical Insights Afternoon Bullet Points  October 16, 2011
 
I went to Zuccotti Park yesterday and talked with about 20 of the Occupy Wall Street protesters. Everyone was polite and happy to chat. I’d say the breakdown between good and bad ideas was a little better than 50/50. Yet the protestors’ core notion -- that average Americans are being screwed by the powers that be -- has plenty of merit. On specific points, the Occupy Wall Street people and the Tea Partiers actually have a fair amount in common.
 
Here are some of the individual protestors’ ideas:
 
  • Replace the existing 535-man congress with direct democracy -- thereby cutting down on corruption. The guy proposing this was in his 20s and carried a sign reading “Waterboard Wall Street.” He was quite eloquent, arguing that today we have the technology to allow all Americans to vote on major decisions, so why not do it? It’s a reasonable point. In fact, author Eric Morse made a similar argument in his recent book Juggernaut. Morse recommends we move to a 10,000-man congress, thereby returning us to the original, 1790s-era ratio of 30,000 citizens per congressperson. This approach would cut down on corruption because 30,000 people are too many to bribe.
 
  • “Weak Messianism.” I chatted for a while with a scholarly looking fellow in his late 20s at a table with a couple of books by philosopher Walter Benjamin. The concept behind weak messianism is that small powerless movements can have an inordinately large impact because they embody the sins and problems of the recent past, bringing them into the open and helping to get them resolved. Apparently, this notion has roots in Eastern Orthodox philosophy. “Are there dirty hippies here? Yes,” said the fellow at the table. “Are there people doing drugs here? Yes. But this is all part of the process.  It’s a mistake to try to define the goals of the movement too quickly.” The process of airing all the grievances and concerns is itself useful, he said. “The protest has actually morphed several times since it started a few weeks ago.”

  • Stop the foreign wars and use those resources here at home. This was a big theme. Many protestors are very upset that we’re spending hundreds of billions of dollars fighting wars all over the world when our own economy is weak and jobs are hard to find. I was handed a flyer from an outfit called “Veterans for Peace” which contained several noteworthy statistics:
 
    • The U.S. military budget is 7x that of China ;
    • New Yorkers have paid $113 billion for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past 10 years. For that same money, 19 million students could get scholarships to go to college for one year;
    • $1 billion spent on the military creates 8,500 jobs, whereas $1 billion in tax cuts generates 10,800 jobs. (Not sure about that point but it’s interesting they supplied it.)
 
  • End the Fed. A saw one big sign making the case that the Federal Reserve is a non-governmental entity whose primary goal is to empower and enrich bankers, not individuals. It’s a fair point. As G. Edward Griffin wrote in The Creature from Jekyll Island, our current banking system is designed to implode periodically – and for the losses to be socialized when it does. The protesters are rightfully mad about this, though as a practical matter most probably don’t understand the nuts and bolts of it. They simply see that Wall Street banks blew up, taxpayers bailed them out, nobody went to jail, and the bigwigs made millions of dollars. It doesn’t seem right to them. On this issue the protests (as well as the Tea Party protests) should have some impact. We can expect some combination of higher capital requirements and lower tolerance for high-risk trading activities by banks going forward.
 
  • “Aggregate demand is too weak.” This was written on a sign carried by a fellow wearing an “MMT” baseball cap. In this case, MMT stands for Modern Monetary Theory. The protester argued that the government needs to increase spending drastically to boost the economy. I disagreed with him on that point, proposing that a combination of tax cuts and nominal GDP targeting via quantitative easing would make more sense. He disagreed and we argued the point for a while. There was another economist type standing next to him (also an MMT-er), who agreed that tax cuts would be an acceptable way to boost aggregate demand.
 
  • College is way overpriced and the education is lousy. One of the most interesting conversations I had was with a chunky 22-year-old from Vermont who is $250,000 in debt yet still doesn’t have his bachelor’s degree. He was carrying a sign that read, “Where’s our Robin Hood?” He has attended Hofstra, University of Vermont and (currently) Ramapo College in New Jersey . His degree is costing him about $50,000 per year and he expects to need 5 years to graduate. After graduation he wants to get a master’s degree, at which point he expects to be $500,000 in debt. He is studying business and his goal is to work in the music business for a few years and then start a record company.
 
“Nobody will take you seriously if you don’t have a college degree,” he explained. “You can’t get a job, and a bank won’t give you a business start-up loan.” He said he doesn’t think any of the schools he’s attended has given him a good education. “I’m sitting in computing classes and they’re teaching us how to use Excel and Powerpoint – things I learned when I was 16. I’m sitting there thinking that I’m paying thousands of dollars for this.” He said his student loans carry a 7% interest rate.
 
Another guy (with a clearly skeptical bent) joined the conversation and asked, “So why don’t you just go to a cheaper school?” The Vermonter responded that he wanted to get out of Vermont and see new things.
 
  • Workers of the World Unite! I chatted with a full-on socialist who argued for nationalization of banks and industries. Such a move would free workers from mind-numbing jobs -- while bringing an end to the capitalist practice of skimming the excess value created by laborers. I argued that a successful business can’t function on labor alone, and that without a visionary running the business labor won’t create any excess value at all. He rejected this notion, arguing that people are motivated to work and create by non-monetary impulses. The engineers at Apple Computer, for instance, would be inspired to do their work even without the profit motive.
 
Socialists or communists were manning four tables in various parts of the park. Nearly all were older guys. I don’t think they’ll get much traction with the young protestors. For instance, the socialist I talked to cited steel-mill work as an example of a particularly mind-deadening task. Yet most steel mill jobs have been computerized for decades and some are fairly high tech at this point. Smart young people just aren’t going to buy into these old socialists’ vision. The weakness of their sales pitch is magnified by the fact that much of America ’s wealth is now intellectual rather than physical -- and intellectual property can’t be effectively nationalized in the first place.
 
  • There’s another issue that rankles down here: CEOs making millions while they downsize their labor forces and move factories to China . That just doesn’t strike people as right. In some cosmic way they have a point, which goes back to the whole notion that man, for most of his history, lived in egalitarian hunter-gatherer tribes. As such, when a few people get super-rich by firing others, it just doesn’t sit well. That’s an emotionally live issue and one that’s not going away.
 
  • Who are the 1% that these protestors are so mad at? My sense is that the 1% does not refer to successful people generally, but rather to those few who get rich via collusion between government and business. For instance, defense contractors greasing palms of congressmen would fall into this category, as would bankers who receive billions in bailouts. I’m reminded here of Amity Schlaes’ concept of “the Forgotten Man,” which dates back to the 1930s: When A makes a deal with B, the loser is very often C, who is not even at the table. The Occupy Wall Street people are “C”s to a man. They know this, they are not happy about it – and they have a point. The Tea Partiers also are mostly “Cs,” so I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I saw some Ron Paul signs at Zuccotti Park .
 
  • I saw a baby wearing a T-shirt that read, “Still waiting for the Great Leap Forward.” I said to the mother, “Um, I’m not sure if you know this, but the Great Leap Forward was a socialist experiment in China in the 1950s that went horribly wrong and killed millions of people.” She said she didn’t know that and had actually gotten the phrase from a Billy Bragg song. A few others nearby also were wearing T-shirts with slogans on them. They’d never heard of China ’s Great Leap Forward, either, and all said they would look it up on Wikipedia when they got home.
 
  • End hydraulic fracturing. There were several people around the park with signs calling for an end to fracking, arguing that it poisons groundwater. I am open to convincing either way on this one. I’ve read articles suggesting both sides have a case.
 
  • A number of people were carrying signs saying “Tax the Rich” or some variant thereof. I didn’t strike up conversations with any of them, on the assumption they wouldn’t have much interesting to say. Still, “Tax the Rich,” is clearly a popular theme now, even among many Republican voters. No wonder Mitt Romney is not proposing cuts to income-tax rates for higher-income Americans.
 
  • Big groups of people were engaged in drum-pounding, chanting, and call-and-response sessions at opposite ends of the park. After I left, I realized that I’d simply blotted them out, probably on the unconscious assumption they were all idiots. Later on, though, it occurred to me that these people likely were the real occupiers – i.e. the ones sleeping out in the park every night. It also occurred to me that many of the people I talked to probably were just down there during the days.
 
Later Saturday evening, some of the occupiers moved to Times Square and created a real mess. I was walking down 7th Avenue trying to catch a train at Penn Station when the cops shut down a couple of blocks. That cost me 10 minutes of extra walking and I almost missed my train. My empathy for the protestors declined substantially at that point. When protests start inconveniencing regular people just trying to walk down the street, you’re into Third World territory. The cops were everywhere around Times Square but just focused on directing traffic and channeling the people flow.
 
Feel free to forward this as there are no investment themes contained.

Mike Churchill

Bullets are archived at www.churchillresearch.com .

Ollanta Humala's approval rating, 100 days in

We're just a hop and a skip from Ollanta Humala's first 100 days as President of Peru, so today's Ipsos/Apoyo approval rating will mark his popularity at that stage. Here's the chart...


...which shows today's 62% approval rating (margin of error +/-2.8%) as well as the 65% he scored this time last month, so perhaps the beginnings of a deterioration in his honeymoon numbers showing through. But all the same, 60%+ in Peru is a strong showing for a President of any stripe at any time, so I'm sure he's not sweating that 3%. When asked why they approved, the main reasons given were that he's making good on his election promises, he cares for the poor and he's pushing for investment in the country. Let's hope those continue. Data from here

update: nice to see people long the scam stock st elias mines coming over  to visit.