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No better way to round off 2011

Reader, IKN Weekly subscriber and all-round good egg 'JMD' sent a great mail to both your humble scribe and Gary over at Biiwii yesterday. It included the video you see below and it would be great if you took five minutes out of your life and watched it, too.

100% agreement here. Thanks JMD, you made my day.

Aca hay lo mismo pero con subtítulos en Castellano, para que todos puedan verlo (y no hay excusas).

The most viewed IKN post of 2011

Amongst all the guff, nonsense and throwaway tat you get on this blog it was kind of gratifying (for me at least) to have checked the back stats this morning and see that of all the posts this year 2011, the one that has received the most hits of all was actually quite a useful one.
"Portage Resources (, a pump and dump scam" written on June 17th got more individual look-ups than any other post this year (modesty forbids naming the number, but we can say that in scientific terms it was a veritable shitload), so if this humble corner of cyberspace stopped just one market greenhorn from being sucked into that scam it gives a nice, happy, warm and fuzzy thought with which to end the year.

Wishing all reader a happy and healthy 2012.


The Friday OT: ZZ Top; La Grange (live)

Rocking out the year

Ohhhh, Mercy

The only "2011 Year In Review" type thingy that's really worth your time... that of Tom Tomorrow at This Modern World. It's a two-parter this year as well, so double your fun.

Guaranteed enjoyment.

Happy! Happeeeeeeeeee!

The WIN/Gallup end of year survey that goes by the name of "Global Barometer of Happiness" hit the streets yesterday, with 58 countries questioned about general levels of happiness. Here below is the chart with the main payoff and, being LatAm obsessed as we are, those countries we care about most deeply get arrows.

click to enlarge

We note:
  • All five regional countries score pretty well, with the relaxed dudettes and dudes in Colombia topping LatAm at 71% net happiness and even the notoriously grumpy Peru making the top 20 worldwide.
  • Strange that Mexico wasn't included, too big a country not to be listed, methinks.
  • Seriously, what do they put in the water in Nigeria?
  • Oh look, The world's richest country languishes at 33%. What's that saying about money and happiness again?
Shortcut to the poll results and presentation here (pt 1) and here (pt 2)

Soros calling bear on gold

Via Ritholtz, this Bloomie segment with George Soros. Ritholtz notes in his post that:

1) Gold is closing up again this year
2) Soros cut 99% of his exposure to gold in 1q11
3) Here he says that gold is "on the brink of a bear market"

Fair enough, and as history suggests Soros is pretty good at this investment thing plenty of people will take notice of his call. As for me, I'll stay long gold. Call me stupid if you like.

Chart of the day is...

...the U.S Dollar (USD) index:

Because it's still the centre of the universe.


Catching up with Portage Resources (

Starting on June 17th with this post and running thru July, August and beyond (eg here and here and here and here and here if you need more evidence) we tried our very hardest on these humble pages to warn you about the pump'n'dump scam Portage Resources ( So let's see how things have panned out since then:

It closed at three point one US cents this that good or bad?...hmmmm...

Anyway, expect all the OTC junior scam thingies, including the latest toadstool North Springs (NSRS.ob), to do exactly the same. They always do.

So what's the reason behind Sunward Resources' (SWD.v) comparative strength right now?

That corpse you planted last year in your garden, 
Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year? 
Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed? 
The Waste Land, T.S. Eliot 
As your humble scribe surveys the wasteland left by December's mauling of his juniors portfolio, only a couple of stocks stand out from the rest due to their resilience. So what is it that's made Sunward Resources (SWD.v) move up when most all around, including the gold price, have sunk?

This chart shows near neighbours to SWD.v at Titiribi in Colombia, namely Bellhaven (BHV.v) and Batero (BAT.v), as well as the gold ETF (GLD) as a decent proxy to gold over the last ten days.

Kid Dynamite's "Douchebag of the Year" competition is now open

The annual "Douchebag of the Year" award, 2011 version, is now up for grabs so go over to KD's post and leave your nomination in the comments section. I've put in mine.

The Where's Waldo?™ World Championship Final was held in North Korea earlier today

And here's the result:

Congrats to the winner, thanks for playing to all the finalists

Chart of the day is... that tracks the year-to-date share price performance of the "Cardero Group" companies:

Please note that we include Cardero Group companies that Henk & Co have apparently disowned and refuse to advertise on the Cardero Group corporate website any longer. Oh man, it beats me why they'd want to turn their back on Dorato Resources (DRI.v), after all it's only 96% down on the year.

Wishing all you loyal Henk Van Alphen followers a happier 2012...which isn't going to be too difficult.


Big power outage in South Peru

As at 3pm local time (3pm EST), basically the whole of the South of Peru was blacked out with zero electricity supply. The blacked out regions include the departments of Arequipa, Cusco, Puno, Moquegua and Tacna and authorities are looking to get electricity supply back again "as soon as possible" (aka between 15 minutes and a couple of days).

And yes, this probably means that Southern Copper (SCCO) isn't performing as well as it normally does...amongst many others.

UPDATE: Aaaaaaaaaand, we're back. It took just over an hour but supply is now being restored, region by region. Not so bad and definitely at the "15 minutes" end of our estimated time window. By the way, the apparent reason for the mass outage was a lightning bolt direct hit on the San Gaban power station in the mountains of the Puno region, which is understandable as the sierra rainy season is now upon us and in Puno the rains invariably come via electrical storms. All well that ends well, though.

Full Suriname via a blog post

Amongst the depressive guff the market and the world news flow is throwing upon us all today, your humble scribe would like to take time out and cheer you all up no end. This is done by heartily recommending the new post over at Bear Shaped Sphere that Eileen has written about her recent trip to Suriname (part four of a series).

Let it be clearly stated: Eileen is an excellent travel writer and what's on show at this link is ample proof. Go read now and see for yourself and once you're done, check the Bear Shaped Sphere front page and look up parts one, two and three of her series, too.

North Springs Resources (NSRS.ob) is a scam

It gets boring watching these obvious, 100% bullshit scams pop up like fetid toadstools and in the end the best advice we can possibly offer is that if a company is a junior exploration miner that's quoted only on the US OTC market, it's almost certainly a scam, but to illustrate the point let's note the recent move in North Springs Resources (NSRS.ob) as it's showing the classic modus operandi of the scumball-driven scam vehicle.
  • Silly optioning-in deal on some precious metals project somewhere (often in US or Mexico, in this case the USA).
  • Recent change of sector for the company (in this case NSRS.ob was an O&G play, now suddenly into hard rock mining).
  • Pitifully small staff roster (in this case, the only listed manager or director is a scumbag named Harry Lappa).
  • No assets and a negative working capital (in this case for example, as at the last quarterly NSRS had $16 in cash at the bank...yes, that says sixteen dollars and zero cents).
  • Recent share count swindle (in this case, NSRS decided that having 348m shares outstanding just wasn't enough and decided to double the count to 696m shares).
  • Bullshit debt facility, in this case an eventual $1m drawdown (that will never happen) with a Panama registered front for some band of scammers called Kazuo.

I could go on and on. And let's note the last couple of days in NSRS.ob share price action, because its current 32c share price gives the stock a silly market cap of $222m (in fact it's worth less than nothing), sees the price closing in on double that of yesterday morning and in the process has traded over 100m shares, 99.9% of which are certainly bullshit swaps from one hand of the scamrunners to the others as they wait for the suckers to turn up and feed their beast.

On a scale of one to stupid, you score stupid if you even consider getting involved with scams like this. They are built for suckers and so don't be one...just avoid this crap and true pieces of market shit like Harry Lappa. And as mentioned above, this advice goes for all OTC-only mining stocks. This IKN public service announcement is now over, have a nice day.

UPDATE: The moment this post was published marked the day's high price in NSRS.ob, with the stock now (about 45 minutes later) trading at 28c. Almost certainly a coincidence....

disclosure: no position of any sort in this worthless junk and it'll definitely stay that way.

The day of the innocents

Up in the North you have April 1st, normally known as April Fool's Day (or you can be an April Fish in France if you like) but down here, the day for pulling jolly japes and precious pranks is today, December 28th, and is known as "Día de los inocentes" (day of the innocents). The system is pretty much the same as April 1st up there, as you play your joke and then cry "¡INOCENTE! ¡INOCENTE!" when the other falls for it.

But the best, by a mile, I've seen today is the front page of Venezuela's satirical site El Chigüire Bipolar. which has this up as an obligatory front page (you then get to click thru to the normal front page). Your author translates underneath:

For us the other 364 days are for jokes, today we get serious.

In 2011, there have been more than 18,000 violent deaths in Venezuela.

El Chigüire Bipolar wishes you a Happy Innocent's Day

IKN back and, sadly, it's not a joke.

Cancer in South American Presidents and a very large tinfoil hat

  • Fernando Lugo of Paraguay is a left wing President in South America. He was recently diagnosed with cancer.
  • Hugo Chávez of Venezuela is a left wing President in South America. He was recently diagnosed with cancer.
  • Lula da Silva of Brazil was until last year a left wing President in South America. He was recently diagnosed with cancer.
  • Dilma Rousseff of Brazil is a left wing President in South America. She went through a bout of cancer recently and is currently in remission.
  • Cristina Fernandez is a left wing President in South America. She was very recently (i.e. it came to light yesterday) diagnosed with cancer.
  • Cristina's husband, Nestor, was a left wing President in South America and died of a heart attack less than a year before most analysts and commentators in Argentina were confidently predicting his return to the Presidency this year. On his death, Cristina stepped up and was re-elected.

And before we go any further, let's remember (thanks to a brain-nudge from reader 'JC' this morning) that Evita Peron was also a cancer victim, so the similarities between Evita and Cristina just keep on mounting up. So with the scene set, I direct you to this link and below sample the first sentences in the top three paragraphs to set the scene:

"In 1975, during the Church Committee hearings, the existence of a secret assassination weapon came to light."

"Can you give a person cancer"

"The answer to the question - Can you give a person cancer - is yes. After nearly 80 years of research and development there is now a way to simulate a real heart attack and to give a healthy person cancer"
And thus ends your humble scribe's blogerial duty to spread tinfoilhat conspiracy theories and scare the bejeepers out of you by shining the light on ThePowersThatBe and the Bilderberg lizard people (is that right?). The rest is up to you.

UPDATE: Reader 'JM' reminds your author that Jack Layton, charismatic head of Canada's left wing NDP party, died of cancer on August 22nd this year.

UPDATE 2: Thank you to those who have sent in links to today's story about Chávez suggesting that the US is behind the cancer outbreak in local Presidents. Four things to say:
1) You can stop sending me those links, guys. Fact is I read it in Spanish before you read it in English, ok?
2) It's true that this post was up before Chávez said his thing. However, this does not mean that Hugo is a regular reader round here. Fun thought, though.
3) Here's the link to the CNN EngLang version, which is now getting repeated in other places.
4) This is the answer I sent to the first five people who sent me the link. I wrote it to the first one and then just pasted it to the others.
Well yeah, CNN's note is par for the course for outsiders looking in. Y'know, it might be a little less Pavlovian to reflect that Chavez hasn't survived as long as he has by being a stupid politico. And perhaps....hey just perhaps....there's a deeper reason why he says the things he says sometimes (not just this example). Oooh, i dunno, maybe such as keeping his core support intact for a date he has with the ballot box on October 7th. Fact is, he doesn't care two hoots what foreign chatter or the Venezuelan middle/upper class say about him when he comes out with these things. His mind is on other matters.

Menem, Chavez, Fujimori, Uribe, Clinton. It doesn't matter what you think of their different brands of politics but they have one thing in common: all political animals. But hey, maybe I'm wrong and Chavez is just an idiot that's been lucky to stay in power all this time.

Chart of the day is... that shows the amount of trust that countries in The Americas place in their armed forces:
1) Interesting to note that in The USA, the public is as well-trained as its army.
2) Mexico surprises me, frankly.
3) Chile trusts something that uses guns and gets heaps of metals generated cash to work with. This does not surprise.
4) At least Peru is true to form on this question. They trust nobody.
5) And what on earth could Argentines have against State run armed forces? Oh yeah...that small matter of 30,000 disappeared in the 70s...


GDP growth in The Americas, 2011: The Top Five

The benchmark macro stats people in LatAm, CEPAL/ECLAC of Chile (and by appointment to the UN) have called the following for the top five GDP growers in the region for 2011:

Top spot for Panama (and we hear that canal is bursting at the seams, too), so hats off and three cheers for Supermarket Man Martinelli

Number two is Argentina and number three is Ecuador, which is why you won't hear much about this list in the biased northern media. After all, we can hardly talk about left wing success stories, can we?

Number four comes Peru and five is Chile with both of those keeping inflation in check as the growth kicked in as well (though Chile did benefit slightly artificially in year-over-year terms thanks to the very big 2010 earthquake that 1) dampened the 2010 figures and 2) brought extra (re)construction work online in 2011.

Data from here (the PDF is free, though you have to register).

Breaking: Argentina's President has cancer

First there was Lugo of Paraguay, then came Chávez of Venezuela, followed by Lula of Brazil. Now comes number four as Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, recently re-elected President of Argentina, has today been diagnosed with cancer of the right thyroid gland and will be operated upon to remove the cancerous tissue on January 4th 2012.

We also know from official reports that the cancer has (apparently) not spread to other parts of her body, that CFK will be  hospitalized for between 48 and 72 hours, though she will be taking medical leave until January 24th. In that time, Veep Amado Boudou will replace her as Head of State.

So what is it with being President of a South American nation that makes you susceptible to cancer all of a sudden? Four in one year is just bizarre.

UPDATE: Official Presidential communique here

I want a job at The Motley Dumbass pumping Great Panther Silver ( (GPL) too...

...because over there, you get the Never Wrong fairydust sprinkled all over you.

We've been laughing at the incessant pumping of Great Panther Silver ( (GPL) by The Motley Dumbass all year and, lo and behold, it's a helluvalot lower now than when 2011 began. However, the Foolish Ones have now slipped smoothly into "yeah, but just wait til 2012!!!!!!!!" mode on their pisspoor reco, as seen in this note today.

The article is in itself slightly revelatory because we finally...after all this time...get some sort of admission by the shameless pumpers that 2011 didn't turn out quite the way expected. This was because TMF decided to parrot the crap spewed out by GPR management about the low cash cost (proven false) and superduper production forecasts (also blown out the water) offered up at the beginning of the year. but that doesn't stop the bullshit and sleight of hand from continuing unabated. We note, for example, that the Motley Dumbass line nowadays is "Well, it's not GPR's fault, cos it was bad for the whole sector", as we quote:
"But it's been a difficult year for a number of silver and gold miners; even Coeur D'Alene Mines (NYSE: CDE) which has held up reasonably well, is still trading lower now than where it started the year."
Whereas this chart shows the reality:

Yes indeed, direct peers comparisons of small silver producers see plenty of them doing much better than GPR and returning a net profit to investment during 2011. And even the one that The Fools decide to use as in the article does much better than GPR because their favoured BS vehicle has lost a cool 30% on the year. But course TMF has never worried about facts getting in the way of a good pump-job.

So if you're looking for decent, level-headed advice on silver stocks, steer yourself a thousand miles clear of The Motley Dumbass because over there, all you need to do is find yourself a decent lie and just keep pumping on it. Your bosses will never notice, either. So if there are any jobs going over there I'd appreciate the heads up, because there must be easier ways of making a living as an equities analyst but right now, I can't think of any.

PS: Yes, GPL is the same stock pumped non-stop by arch scumbag Thom Calandra and hired by GPL to do so, understandably
PPS: Yes, GPL is the same company that tries legalistic bullyboy schemes to try and stop facts from coming to light about its operations. And by the way, since standing up to the bullies we still haven't heard a peep out of them...missing ya already, Kaare :-)

Bolivia: Evo Morales ends the year with a 35% approval rate

The last time we checked, back in October, President Evo Morales had just polled the worst number since the end-2010 snafu attempt to raise taxes on fuel (the gasolinazo). Since then we saw November creep up a bit to 38% but this month's numbers, released just before Christmas, see approval back down at 35%. However, active disapproval remained at the same 53% level (undecideds up to 12% from 9% make the difference), so it's probably fair to say that inside the margin of error of these things, Evo's remaining steady.

Still, hardly the type of popular support the country's first ever indigenous President would be looking for, even this far into his mandate. By the way, the main complaint in the last quarter of 2011 is the way his government handled the Tipnis protest march, with accusations of heavy-handed repression "of his own people" the main bone of contention.

Chart of the day is...

...The Euro, weeklies.
Much has been made of the technical support/barrier/ceiling/floorpan/whatever it's called by the charties 1.30 level for the Euro. And of course mucho mucho was made of it when we saw the Euro briefly dip under the technically/psychologically/we-all-gonna-die important 1.30 just before Christmas.

One thing that your humble scribe can guarantee is that the same shrill voices won't make as much noise about the rebound to above 1.30....cos it's all squigglyline bullshit, y'see. But as long as these charlatans are given an audience (that's where you come in) they'll just keep on squawking at the next random walk of a pattern that comes their way.


Looks like The Reverend James Ussher was right after all

I wasn't going to post today but the below, nabbed from Felix Salmon's Tumblr, has seen me cave in. It must be shared, so shared it will be.

Authored by Patrick. And if you read his other stuff it quickly becomes abundantly clear he didn't mean it as a joke.